ricky gervais

Opinion: Impro v Scripted - No Contest?

I caught Paul Merton on The One Show the other night promoting his new tour. He was not able to say too much about it, of course, because it is with Paul Merton's Impro Chums so it will be different every night.

Opinion: Living the Comedy/Rock Dream

Update 15/10/13. Terrific fun seeing David Brent's debut gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre last night. The melodies made you tap your feet, the lyrics made you clench your buttocks. Read full review here.

News: Stephen Merchant TV series - UK TX details

Can Stephen Merchant be the next British star to make it big in America? He has already had bit parts in projects as diverse as 24 and the Farrelly Brothers' Hall Pass but he now gets the star-billing treatment for his HBO series Hello Ladies, which airs in America from September 29 and is transmitted in the UK on Sky Atlantic from October 16. As the title suggests, the show is inspired by Merchant's first-ever full solo stand-up show of the same in which the gangly gagsmith bemoaned his lack of success with the opposite sex.

Opinion: Awards – Who Needs Them?

The Edinburgh Fringe 2013 is one week old and already there is talk of awards contenders. I won't name any here and make some people giddy with anticipation and others feel like packing their bags. Needless to say, most people doing a comedy show in Edinburgh will not win a Foster's Comedy Award or even be in the running. Of course awards matter, of course they will make your mum proud, but don't get too downhearted.

Opinion: If You Want to Laugh Watch a Comedian, Not A Pop Star

Do you want conclusive proof that a journalist will do anything to avoid proper work?

Opinion: Should Woody Allen make a stand-up comeback?

I've written before about comedians making comebacks after a period away from the stage. David Baddiel, for instance, is back in Edinburgh in a few weeks for the first time in 15 or 16 years depending on what website you read. Either way it is a long time but not as long as the hiatus since Woody Allen last did stand-up, which must surely be in terms of decades rather than years.

TV Review – Family Tree, BBC2

It's directed by Christopher "Spinal Tap" Guest, it stars homme du jour Chris O'Dowd. What could possibly go wrong with Family Tree? I've just watched the first episode and I'm totally thrown. It is clearly intended to be a comedy, but so far the laughs are painfully thin on the ground. Though this may just be me. Previewers who I am usually in step with seem to be garlanding Family Tree with plaudits, while I stand at the side, politely not getting it.

Opinion: Kay's Catalogue of Comic Anarchy

Update - Re below, Kay's book is out now and he plays the Soho Theatre on 18 & 19 Oct. Details here

Review: Brian Gittins, Soho Theatre

It's comedy, but not as we know it. Brian Gittins has been on the circuit for a few years now, but his popularity has gained some purchase recently, thanks to his appearance in the Ricky Gervais series Derek as sad, sex-obsessed loser Kev. He might be playing a small room in the Soho Theatre but he has just extended his run. I recommend you go, but I also recommend you get there early enough to grab a seat at the back.

Review: YouTube Comedy Week

I haven't quite worked out the purpose of YouTube's first ever Comedy Week yet. If it is about trying to get more people to watch YouTube that would seem like a fairly futile exercise. A bit like a TV advert saying "Eat Food" or "Please Remember to Breathe". Everybody does it anyway.

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