josie long

News: ARGComFest Line-Up Announced

The line-up for ARGComFest, aka Actually Rather Good Comedy Festival, has just been announced. The two-day Fringe Preview festival is returning for a third year over the weekend of July 5 & 6. There will be 32 Edinburgh previews in two days, this year moving from last year's venue in Camden Town to The Garage, Highbury Corner, in Islington. One ticket covers access to all shows - there are either daily or weekend tickets. The festival is organised by James Lowey with the help of Matthew Crosby's contacts book.

Picture Report: Machynlleth Comedy Festival Part Two.

It might have been a Sunday but it was no day of rest for the comedians at the Machynlleth Festival. One of the reasons that the weekend is so laid back is that there are no Foster’s-style prizes, so nobody feels like they are in competition. Tom Craine, however, would have won the prize for Earliest Comedian when I spotted him outside the box office around 9.30am. It turned out that he was rushing off home and had a morning train to catch.

News: Alexei Sayle on 35 Years in Comedy

Anybody interested in recent comedy history should have been at I Say with Alexei Sayle, the inaugural "Comedy Conversation" at Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival earlier this week. It was an opportunity to see someone who wasn't just there at the start of modern comedy, but someone who can genuinely claim to have actually started it all off.

Review: Resofit, Bloomsbury Theatre

Benefit gigs are usually crammed with acts doing quick smash-and-grab sets, partly for the cause, sometimes to try out new material and sometimes, let's not beat around the bush here, to win new fans. This year's benefit for experimental radio station Resonance was different. There was an MC plus only three acts who all had the opportunity to do longer, 30 minutes-ish sets.

Opinion: Equal Rights For Panel Games

So the world of BBC panel games has finally entered the 20th Century. Women don't just have the right to vote now, there is more good news. BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen has been quoted in the Observer as saying that  "We're not going to have panel shows on any more with no women on them. You can't do that.

Preview: The Week Ahead Jan 6 - 12

What's in a name? When Debbie Harry decided she wanted to be taken seriously as a musician she started calling herself Deborah Harry. When Rob Newman decided he wanted to be seen as a more mature comedian he started being billed as Robert Newman. But it is probably Newman's material more than his monicker that has cast him in a new light.

Preview: The Week Ahead Dec 8 - 14

I'm not saying Nish Kumar: Is A Comedian should have won the Foster's Award in Edinburgh this summer, but I was surprised that it didn't get talked about more as a contender for a nomination. Maybe this is a problem of just standing onstage and chatting rather than delivering pyrotechnics, feminism-tinged satire or immersive audience participation.

Competition: Win Alternative Comedy Experience DVDs

If you like stand-up comedy Beyond The Joke has a treat for you. We have three copies of the DVD of series one of Comedy Central's The Alternative Comedy Experience to give away. The series was transmitted earlier this year and was acclaimed as an antidote to the shiny floor stand-up of Live at the Apollo. Comedy guru Stewart Lee was involved in selecting the acts and he appears on the DVD interviewing acts backstage at The Stand Club in Edinburgh where the series was filmed.

Opinion: Carr Trouble

When I interviewed Josie Long (picture by Idil Sukan at Draw HQ) in the run-up to her Arts Emergency fundraiser at the Hackney Empire last week she told me off-the-record that they were hoping to land Jimmy Carr as a surprise guest.

Interview: Josie Long

Josie Long (pictures by Idil Sukan at Draw HQ) was one of my favourite comedians even before she co-founded Arts Emergency to help students study arts degrees. I don't always agree with her but I admire the way that she throws herself headlong into everything she does, whether it is her pursuit of social justice or her hobby of outdoor swimming.

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