stewart lee

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.

The Week Ahead: Jan 20 -27

This is an exceptionally strong week when it comes to award-winning comedians who really are true masters of the stand-up art. Tommy Tiernan is first up, appearing at the Soho Theatre from Monday. The 1998 Perrier Award winner is a massive star in Ireland and when he graces London with his presence it is easy to see why. He is the kind of comedian that – cliché ahoy – really could make you laugh by reading the telephone directory.

Opinion: Comedy Snobbery

Comedian Dave Twentyman recently posted an interesting piece on Facebook about snobbery in the comedy industry towards comedians who play the weekend club circuit. Stand-ups who make their living from gigs at stag and hen parties and office parties etc are viewed, said Twentymen, as hack and unimaginative.

Book Review: Watching War Films With My Dad by Al Murray

Al Murray has always had a thing about the military. There is, of course, the Pub Landlord's wobbly grasp of European history, but before that Murray used to do a precision-tooled sound effects act in which he impersonated various machine guns and rifles. And before that, as Watching War Films With My Dad reveals, his childhood was filled with typical WW2 ephemera, from Airfix models to Sunday afternoon viewings of A Bridge Too Far with his father.

Opinion: Charity Begins On The Stage

Five stars to Lee Mack for being honest about his appearance at the Royal Free Rocks with Laughter benefit on Sunday night at the Adelphi. During his short set the cheeky chappie glanced at the banner behind him and said “Let’s not forget the real reason we’re here tonight. And that’s to try out new material for the tour.” 

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: What's The Meta With Stewart Lee?

I was interested to read that Dominic Cavendish of the Daily Telegraph failed to make it past the interval at Stewart Lee's show when he went on a Friday. I also had misgivings about the show on Thursday night, although I had no difficulty staying to the end.


Opinion: Keeping It Real By Keeping It Small

Everybody must surely have a fantasy version of what the perfect stand-up comedy gig would be. This is mine. A smart, funny comedian sets up shop in London somewhere. A small club, where instead of doing a one-night stand they can settle into a relaxed run and play regularly to appreciative audiences.

The Week Ahead: Nov 4 - Nov 10

Comedy residencies used to be three or four nights, maybe a week if you were a big attraction. This week, however, two major comedy shows kick off in London and will still be on for quite a bit longer when the Christmas decorations are taken down in January.


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