Here we go! After nine long days it is time to put you out of, or into, your misery.

I’ve been taking a look at the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s according to Amazon, and then reviewing them by the state of their cover alone. But a funny thing has happened since I first searched out the list on the 11th December.

I’m going to show you the list from 10 through to 2 that I found on the 11th December. And then I’ll show you the list as it stands today. See if you can spot the funny thing.

Here’s my list from the 11th December (without yet revealing number 1):

10- The Channel 4 Comedy Gala 2013

9- Peter Kay

8- Kevin Bridges

7- Jimmy Carr

6- Eddie Izzard

5- Sean Lock

4- Jack Dee

3- Bill Bailey

2- Greg Davies

And now, here’s Amazon’s Top Ten as of today (and I’ll save the number 1 til the end too!):

10- Peter Kay (but a different DVD)

9- Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown

8- Def Comedy Jam

7- Jethro

6- World’s Greatest Stand-Up

5- The Comedians

4- Jim Davidson

3- Stewart Lee

2- Channel 4’s Comedy Gala (but 2012, not 2013)

And no.1? Well, it’s a repeat of one of the above. But I’ll save the surprise.

And did you notice the funny thing that happened? Yes, that’s right! The list went from being pretty pretty good to being pretty pretty shit.

How did that happen? Is it based on sales? And if it is, did NO ONE (out of my 24 or so readers) pay any attention to my thorough reviews?

And how on earth did Stewart Lee and his Comedy Vehicle sneak in there at no.3? Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m glad Stewart Lee is in there. He’s my favourite comedian. Ever. (Though Frank Randle gives him a run for his money).

But truly, what gives?

And so, at last, here’s the proper (as in the 11th December list) Number 1. It’s…

Micky Flanagan

Micky Flanagan: “Back In The Game” Tour- Live

Yes! Micky Flanagan!

And he’s made my job easy. I’m reviewing this solely by the cover and Micky has wisely eschewed any fake stickers with silly newspaper bits declaring him to be this or that. It’s just him, with a bit of a cheeky title and a cheeky chappie grin. And, as I sit here typing, I say to my wife, “there’s not much to say really”. And she says, “Say he’s copied my walk”.

I like Micky Flanagan. And he makes me laugh. Though he has copied my wife’s walk.

Two 15 certificates. Suitable for 30 year olds.

But here’s the thing. You’re all (24 of you) waiting to find out who’s top of the Amazon chart today, aren’t you? Yes?

Well, it’s…

Jethro

Jethro Tull

It’s a 3 DVD boxset. It’s £5.75.

I wasn’t going to review this cover. It’s not part of the plan. And I don’t want Jethro stealing any of Micky’s thunder. But there is one point of great interest: Jethrol uses the fake sticker style favoured by yesterday’s no. 2, Greg Davies. But whereas Greg’s fake sticker was used to declare him “one of this country’s best comedians”, Jethro’s fake sticker is used to declare “contains new release”.

Contains new release. Contains new release.

Just say it a few times. Over and over.

Is it making you feel queasy? Contains new release.

Is it meant to be a joke?

Contains new release. What does it mean?

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help thinking… contains new release… I can’t help thinking Jethro has somehow spunked out his new video.

Maybe that’s what he wants us to think. Who knows? Who buys Jethro? What is he? And why doesn’t Ricky Tomlinson sue?

Advertisements

Ok, so I didn’t get a chance to do number 4 yesterday. Sorry! But it’s nearly Christmas and there is drinking to be done.

And so, rather than be a day behind, I am going to rattle through numbers 4 and 3 today. Here’s my thinking, this is the plan; if I get to Number 1 by Friday then you are all sorted for your Christmas shopping. You’ve got the weekend to buy the whole Top Ten. If that’s your thing.

The downside is that I can’t tell you anything about the content of these DVD’s. It’s not like I’m watching them! I haven’t got the time! Or the money! …No, hang on… I haven’t got the money! I knew it was one out of the two.

Having seen none of them I am solely judging a DVD by its cover. Which is fine by me. These comedians surely approved their covers; even, bizarrely, Jimmy Carr!

Before we start the Top Three countdown let’s get Number Four done. And it is…

Jack dee

Jack Dee: So What? Live

It’s the original Grinch! It’s the grumpiest comedian ever! It’s Jack Dee!

Here’s Jack! Looking more hapless than grumpy. He’s pulling the kind of face you imagine he might have pulled when he heard Martin Freeman had stolen the part of the Hobbit from him.

Ooh, as a little diversion, here’s some stuff I have watched. Let’s laugh along as Vic and Bob try to cheer Grumpy Jack up. And look carefully… at one point Jack is sitting next to The Hobbit himself, smiling away, not grumpy at all.

Now, back to the serious cover analysis.

I’m getting a little fed up of the double 15 certificate thing. It’s on all of these bloody videos. But, for those new to this blue and red stickeration the double 15 means this DVD is suitable for thirty year olds.

Jack’s gone for an old variety poster style for his cover. It’s a cross between the Good Old Days and a boxing flyer. As such, it’s covered in stars. The Telegraph gives the show Five Stars, but if you count them all up this is in fact a 47 Star show. That’s a hell of a show. So What? So 47 Stars What, that’s What!

Jeremy Hardy calls the show/Jack a “little ray of sleet”. It’s not quite up there with Lee Mack’s critique of Stewart Lee…

“A cultural bully from the Oxbridge Mafia who wants to appear morally superior but couldn’t cut the mustard on a panel game.”  Lee Mack, Mack The Life, 2012

… but it’s still a fun quote.

And so on to the Top Three.

(Incidentally, the Top Ten order has not been decided by me. I am going off the first ten comedy DVD’s that came up when I searched Amazon’s Stand-up comedy section way back on December 11th).

And, at Number Three…

Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

It’s Bill Bailey! And what a cover! Truly astonishing! A 12 certificate! A first for the Top Ten! Here is a DVD for (almost) all the family.

It’s also the first DVD in the Top Ten to entertain me through title alone. If only all warmongers became qualmpeddlers the world would be a much better place.

As far as most comedy DVD covers go (grins, teeth, quiffs, scowls) this one is a work of art. A spoof art work too, mocking and mimicking the militaristic murals of Mao.

mao poster

Mao Tse-Tung: China’s funniest mass murderer

Bill Bailey may be only Number Three, but it’s likely, when the votes are in (the poll will open on Saturday) that this cover will be Number One!

Tomorrow, Number 2.

I’m livid today. Very angry with Comic Relief. But we’ll come to that.

Firstly an update. I’m up to £405! 20% off my target for team @tracey_thorn #twittermillion challenge.  I might not get to the £1986 100% mark but I’m going to keep on keeping on. Spurred on by Karen, and Ian, and Andrea, and Paul. Thank you all for your generosity. x

But I forget! I’m livid! With bloody Comic Relief!

I know I shouldn’t be. it’s Comic Relief after all. But really. For crying out loud!

I had an email from them today; a thank you for my fund raising, and, as part of the thank you, a treat. That’s nice.

They said:

“If we were standing next to you, we’d throw our arms around you and smother you in kisses for adding to your fundraising total. Unfortunately, we’re not. So, as promised, here’s a little treat instead.”

So the treat was instead of lots of kisses. The treat was a video. I had to click on it to get my treat.

And my treat was…

A message from One Direction.

Yes, you’ve read that right. A message from One Direction.

One Direction.

Have Comic Relief gone mad?

One Direction?

I’m 50 for fuck’s sake! 50!

One bloody Direction? A treat? What one earth do you think I am, Comic Relief?

Even if they’d said Trick or Treat, One Direction wouldn’t fit the bill.

I don’t even know who they are, Comic Relief! I’m 50! 50!

I’m so furious.

Now this would have been a treat:

I click on the link. Morrissey is there. He sings Teenage Kicks. And as he sings, One Direction skip past and he kicks each one of them in the head.

And as each One Directioner staggers away they bump into Tracey Thorn singing Kiss You. She kisses them better (Hey, it’s for Comic Relief. I cannot wish real harm on them).

As they walk away, swooning from the kisses, they walk past Ben Watt and Stewart Lee, both sitting on high bar stools, wearing big 80’s jackets. And they throw crisps at the children.

And Tracey joins them and throws crisps too.

And they’re salt and vinegar, and they sting a little.

But even though they sting, Harry tries to catch them in his mouth like a wind-up musical toy borne of Oliver and Russell Brand.

That’s a treat.

My last two posts have rudely looked at the comedians DVD’s on sale over Christmas, and then judged them solely on the artwork of the cover. Now let’s see which is the worst.

Remember! You are judging the artwork alone. Not the content. Let us all just judge the comedians by their covers.

You can see all the covers in my two previous posts.

Hey, let’s have two polls! One for the worst, one for the best. Worst first.

And the best cover.

The Comedians

December 18, 2010

All the comedians have got their DVD’s out for Christmas. Loads of ’em. Comedians and DVD’s. How do you choose? It’s tricky isn’t it. Everyone likes a laugh at Christmas, but what if you buy the wrong one? What if you buy a DVD by one of the unfunny comedians? Or a rude comedian? Or an offensive one?

Of course, there are some simple rules that are always worth following. One is never buy a DVD by a comedian who has a supposedly comical and  endearing middle nickname.

Then, well, that’s it. There’s only one rule really. Oh yes! Rule two; be wary of yokels.

That’s it. Beyond that you’re on your own out there, scooting down the aisle only to find yourself faced with a fake top fifty supermarket countdown of smiling faces and stickers.

I’ll try to help. I’m going to review a handful of DVD’s available and it might, just might, help you reach that difficult decision of which to buy.

I should point out that I have seen none of these DVD’s, and, in many cases, seen little or none of the comedians work (Oh! With the exception of one). In some instances I may have even gone out of my way to avoid their work. (Oops, it’s just occurred to me that this idea is a little like The No Show– a great site where shows are reviewed without ever being seen. I don’t mean it to be, and if this post causes offence please let me know and I will destroy it!)

Oh, and I will base my review on one thing alone. The artwork on the cover of the DVD. That’s all. How it looks. I will judge a comedian by his cover.

Here we go.

Remember, I don’t necessarily know what I’m on about here.

I’m just going off the pictures, ok?

Right, first up:

Michael McIntyre

It’s Michael McIntyre. A complicated one. Is he live and we’re laughing? Or is it just him doing both? He seems to be laughing; possibly in rather a cruel way having turned his back on the paying punters seen in the background. Shouldn’t he be facing them? Just what’s going on, Mr. Pink shirt?

There’s an ambiguous quote from The Daily Telegraph (a paper I know little of, though I have been assured they are good for sports… at least that’s the excuse of most right-wing fanatics). They say “If there’s a funnier, slicker, warmer hour of comedy, I haven’t encountered it”.

But how much do The Daily Telegraph get out these days? And considering this DVD is 84 minutes long, what did they think of the remaining 24 minutes?

It’s a tricky one to start with. You decide.

Lee Mack

He’s live too. There’s no audience being neglected here. Instead, he’s walking straight at you. And he’s not laughing. Or smiling. It’s almost like he knows that sometimes not smiling is funnier than smiling. There’s a quote that makes Lee sound funny, but potentially painfully so. And it’s a quote from a man rather than a paper. Optional swearing (swearing is, generally, funny), a funny walk, a too-tight suit, an almost serious expression; I’d say this one is a winner with guaranteed laughs. It’s also a nice shade of green.

Jason Manford

This is very odd. Is he trying to speak through his ear? Is he mistaking the microphone for a Q-Tip? Did the photographer just say “Hey, Jase, stick it in your ear! Ha ha ha!” and he just did, just for the hell of it?

He is “a true master of observational comedy…” the BBC said. But then, at the time of printing, they were most likely his employers. And what follows the little dots? What if the next word was “sometimes”? Or “only on Tuesdays?” An enigma at the least. You decide.

Kevin Bridges

He’s “the master of stand-up at just 22” The Daily Mirror tells us. And the use of a Mirror quote suggests he’s one of us, an ok bloke who may possibly be just mildly left wing. And he’s humble too. Look! A smile that says  “that’s me that! That’s my name up there! In Lights! Little old me, photographed from above to make me look little.” But look in the background; his audience, yet again ignored. You decide.

Frankie Boyle

No newspaper quotes for this comedian. He’s not smiling, but we can assume he is live as we are told it is a new stand-up show for 2010. He tells us that if he could he would reach out through the TV and strangle you. Well, TV is developing all the time. 3D. HD. What next? Just remember, if he could, he would. Well, one day soon he may well be able. It’s a risk. It’s up to you. You decide.

Stewart Lee

He’s put his face on a cup. If that doesn’t make you laugh you most likely wouldn’t laugh at Steve Martin’s Pizza in a Cup in The Jerk.

Look! Stewart Lee’s face on a cup! And he is almost smiling. None of the other comedians have put their face on a cup.

So this is the ideal Christmas comedy DVD.

Buy this one. You decide.

Shift Run Stop

September 24, 2010

Last week I was a guest on Shift Run Stop, “a free comedy podcast full to the brim with games, geeks and special guests. Brought to you by Leila Johnston and Roo Reynolds”.

Leila and Roo have been asking me and Trev to pop along for quite a while, but it’s just been too difficult, what with Trev now living in Tristan da Cuhna.

So just me went along. And talked and talked and talked. I don’t get out much and I don’t see many people, so they just couldn’t shut me up. They’ve managed to edit it down to a listenable half hour. I think I went on for an hour and a half. Still, at leats they’ve done the decent thing and edited out the bit where I was rude about Peter Kay. In case you’re thinking you’ve missed out on something big there… well, you haven’t.  Read this though, by Stewart Lee, officially the 41st Best Stand Up Ever (unofficially, the Best Stand Up Ever.)

Find out the truth about Don Draper. Find out about Marti Pellow and the kids in the basement. Oh, and that bloody Five Star thing crops up yet again. Also, the time we worked with Charlie Brooker. My tips to aspiring comedians (I know, I know, just ignore anything I say. What do I know). And other bits.

Anyways, here it is to hear here.

Thank you Leila and Roo for inviting me along.

Roo and Leila being serious

Stupid stupid stupid

January 26, 2010

It’s taken me an age to track this down. Sometimes, in films, certain bits stand out when the rest of the movie disappears. All I can remember is stupid, stupid, stupid; a phrase that often goes through my head, usually aimed at myself.

I knew it was from some legal film. I knew it was a woman in a courtroom reading out a letter. Until tracking it down down, just now, I’d have stumped for A Civil Action with John Travolta. And I’d’ve been wrong. It’s The Rainmaker, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Clearly (to me) not as memorable as his other The films; The Godfather, The Godfather II, even The Godfather III and, of course, the Apocalypse Now one (ok, I cheat a little). But it had it’s moment. And here it is:

So it has stuck with me and I hear it often, in my head, with that flat somethin’ stoopid Sinatra intonation, telling me off; stoopid, stoopid, stoopid.

So what’s the stupidest thing I could do? Well, I’m still alive so I didn’t walk in front of a car or fall off a cliff or push my head up close to a bacon slicer. Instead I sat in the bar of a swanky hotel, and, needing to go to the toilet, decided it would be absolutely fine to leave my bags for less than the  minute it might take me to have a wee.

Altogether now; stupid, stupid, stupid.

That’s ok. I can take it. Leave your comments.

See, maybe I have too much faith in human nature. What’s that I hear you all shouting in unison? Having faith in human nature is one thing, leaving your bags unattended in a public place in London is stupid, stupid, stupid.

Oh, who cares.

I had three bags; one with all my stuff in it, two full of presents. The robber only took my bag. And for that I thank him (I know it was a him because there was a witness).

The presents were for my girlfriend.

Ok. Big pause. That last sentence was a fair enough thing to write; they were presents for my girlfriend. There! I’ve written it again. It must be true. It seems I have a girlfriend.

Ok, so, if you’re reading this and you don’t know me, either personally or in my professional role as a former TV idiot, then what you’ve just read is no big deal. Everyone has girlfriends, wives, husbands, partners, children, pets.

If you do know me, then you most probably think I’m lying. I’ve made it up. I’m delusional.

If you don’t know me, but know who I am from the world of childrens’ TV, then you most probably think I’m gay.

Well, it’s true. That I have a girlfriend that is. Though at the age of 47 girlfriend just sounds silly. I asked my friend Claire if it was ok at my age to say girlfriend. She answered, Of course not; she’s your bird!

Partner‘s out of the question; it makes it sound like business, and whatever business we may or may not get up to, I doubt anyone’s going to make any money out of it. (I went to see Stewart Lee the other night and as I picked up the tickets the box office* asked me for the name of my partner- I was so shocked I almost said Trev).

No. Partner no way. Other options are either unrepeatable or silly. Although my lovely lady has a nice ring to it. Anyways, this is no big deal to you, dear reader, just me and her. Ok. just me. She is real. Honestly. But back to robbing and stupidity.

My robber got away with a nice bag bought for me as a present by my friend Sarah. And inside:

  • My Richard Hawley T-shirt (Christmas present from Andrea)
  • My glasses
  • Socks, underpants, a shirt
  • an umbrella
  • Two inhalers
  • An electric toothbrush
  • A beard trimmer
  • Some toiletries
  • Oh… and my camera

My camera is (was) old, doesn’t work too well and was £99 when I bought it. Still, it was my camera, and until someone gives me a job my blog will remain pretty photoless.

Other than that, good luck robber. Try making a bit of money out of the rest of the crap in there. I hope, just to make it all worthwhile, that you have asthma and a minor sight defect that matches mine. But I don’t want you to be a Richard Hawley fan. I want you to take that T-shirt and throw it into Truelove’s Gutter (no disrespect to you there Andrea, and your lovely present. It just feels like a romantic end for the T-shirt).

I was stupid, stupid, stupid. But I don’t care. I can’t afford not to care, but there we go. I don’t. Bye bag and things.

I checked my insurance policy. Things were looking good until I got to clause 8.1 or somesuch. We do not pay out for baggage left unattended unless it is in a locked room. What do you think we are? Stupid, stupid, stupid?

Clause 8.1.1 You’re the stupid one. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Ha ha ha!

Clause 8.1.2 You’re lucky he didn’t steal your willy whilst you had a wee, you stupid, stupid, stupid… thing.

Clause 8.1.3 We love insurees like you.

Who knows why the robber took the one bag and left the two bags of presents. Here’s my two top theories:

Theory 1: He didn’t want to draw attention to himself. He was seen, by the witness, to drop his gloves alongside my bag. He stooped to pick them up, and in the same movement scooped up my bag and swooped out of the exit. To pick up the other two bags would have involved clumsy movements and drawing attention to himself.

Theory 2: He saw they were bags of presents. He thought to himself; I’m a kindly robber and these are presents for his lovely lady. They’ve been apart over Christmas and the New Year, I have a heart, and I am only going to cause this man minor anguish by taking his bag and leaving the presents alone. I wish you both a good evening, and now I’m off, to see if I can get a quid off Wheezy Dave down the pub for a half-used Beclazone inhaler.

I’m opting for Theory 2.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I know.

I don’t care.

Me, looking like a robber, in Alcatraz

* Using Box Office and making it speak is, I think, an example of a synecdoche, like in the film. So, even though I am stupid, stupid, stupid, I can still show off and make out like I am not, sort of, even though I really wanted to write the Box Office person, cause it seems silly having a box office that can talk.

Stewart Lee

January 24, 2010

I went to see Stewart Lee perform his latest show, If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask For One. This was a few nights ago. Last Wednesday. I’ve wanted to write about it. Not a review as such; I’m incapable, I’d get word-tied. I’ll leave the reviews to journalists like Nigel Pauley writing in the Daily Star. Here’s his take on one routine executed by the “posh comic”.

I’ve wanted to write about it but I’ve been unable to. I’ve put it off. And off. And off. And the reason is, I’m scared.

Not scared like as if Stewart Lee was a ghost or something; or a madman who might track me down and hurt me. I’m scared because he is so good. I almost have to stop thinking, because I know no matter how much I think, I will never be able to think like him. If I was a stand-up comedian I would see Stewart Lee and I would give up. There and then. I wouldn’t just give up stand-up comedy. I’d give up standing up. I’d give up moving. I’d devote myself to inertia. Nothing I could do would ever be as good and ………………………………………………. ………………………. …………….. …………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………….. ……………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ………………………………………………………………. See? I just can’t……………………………

…………write now.

I laughed out loud throughout the show.

That’s it. That’s my review.

I’ll continue waffling on though because I can and I have license to. My licence was granted to me by one of Lee and Herring. I can’t remember who now, because this was many years ago and I am old and………………………… …………………………………………………… ………………………………….. …………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………. ………………………………………hell

………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………….

……………………….did the following even happen?

They gave me the licence to write this because I have nothing to live up to. I can’t fail because I am starting from the standpoint of being an idiot.

I met them at a radio station. They had copies of their Fist Of Fun book with them. They kindly gave me a copy………………………………………

…………or did they? Did I steal it? Was it given to me by the radio host who may or may not have been Danny Baker? I can’t remember.

Somehow, I had the book. And I asked them to sign it. They did. They wrote, To Simon, You are an idiot, best wishes, Lee and Herring.

Maybe.

The To Simon, You are an idiot bit they definitely wrote. I’m not sure how they signed off. They may have put Stewart and Richard, or some variation. They may have written all the best or lots of love, or swing um pant or something. I don’t know. I can’t remember. I’d check, but the book’s in storage and going there brings me out in a sweat and reminds me of all the mistakes I’ve made in my life and drags me down and

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………I wish my storage unit would disappear………………………………….. …………………………………………I’m paying money I don’t have for things I don’t need….. ……………………………

No! I need my Fist of Fun book.…………………………………………………………

It makes me laugh, still- Simon, You are an idiot – but I don’t know why. What did they mean? Am I an idiot? Is that good or bad? It’s got to be bad really, hasn’t it? But maybe it was a joke. Just a joke. But we’re all products of that weird thing from the past that was Alternative Comedy, and the one thing we all know is there’s no such thing as just a joke.

Stewart Lee. He tells a great joke about Richard Hammond. See the review above. It’s merciless and cruel and funny and true and hurtful and sometimes not true but still true. If I was Richard Hammond I would see it and be rendered inert.

I’ve searched the internet. I want to know what Richard Hammond thinks. There’s nothing. He’s inertiad by Lee. In the same way that Pasquale has been inertiad (I know there’s no such word. What do you take me for? An idiot? But I know what I mean. I think. I……………………………………………………. ………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………….it keeps happening

Pasquale. Watch Stewart Lee’s Pasquale routine. It’s there; on You Tube. I’m not putting up a link. Fear eats away. I’m not sure what Stewart would think. And that matters to me. But it’s there. Take a look. If you don’t laugh and laugh and laugh then maybe he’s not for you. I laugh and then I have no choice but to remain still and useless for at least an afternoon.

Pasquale must be inert. He’s never said How dare you, Lee! He’s kept quiet. There is no comeback to such a perfectly formed routine. Stewart Lee is a ninja………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………… …………………….. ……………….. ……………..now I’ve written that and it’s, it’s meaningless. Of course he’s not a ninja. He’s not even like a ninja, though he does tend to wear black. He’s more Mick McManus to Pasquale’s Jackie Pallo. Except Stewart and Joe’d never wrestle and……………………….. ……………………………………………… ……………………………………………though Bob Mortimer did once box Les Dennis

I really don’t know how to go on

Not much comedy makes me laugh. I like to laugh, it’s just that

………………….I’m not one of those comedians (I could just stop that there). I’m not one of those comedians who stroke their chins and nod and say that’s funny. If something’s funny, I laugh.

Frankie Boyle can make me laugh. I’ll laugh out loud at his rudery on Mock the Week, though I have rarely laughed at the show. He’s gone now. Stewart Lee does a routine about Mock the Week, without naming the show, that again is so perfect, so formed, that all comedians on Mock

………………………………………..just stop

Comedy makes me laugh when, well, it’s funny but also when I feel that the comedian has no choice but to do and say what he or she is saying. They are compelled. It drives them. It is them. And we know it’s them, it’s all them, it’s not an act, it’s

……………………………….Stewart Lee, Johnny Vegas, Richard Herring, Frank Randle, Andy Kaufman

not Bill Hicks.

Have I gone too far? Have I proved  my idiocy? He’s never made me laugh. All comedians love him. He’s the comedian’s comedian. I’ve never got past 7 minutes. I feel I’m being lectured. He says funny things but he seems smug. He also famously said Do a commercial, you’re off the artistic roll call, every word you say is suspect, you’re a corporate whore and eh, end of story. That’s just some big mouth, clever enough to earn money doing what he loves, getting all self righteous. I did a commercial in 1995. I earned enough to buy a car, a Ford Fiesta. I’m still driving the same car. Bill Hicks can fuck off.

Stewart Lee is my Bill Hicks (even if he’d say the same about commercials, spit in my face and damn me to

…………………………………… ………………………………………………………….. …………………………………….. ……………………………It was only the one.

…………….It wasn’t even a commercial. It was an advert. I wasn’t and still am not clever enough to get by without them.  I’d do another if I was offered. I’ve got a 15 year old car and no home

………………………………………………………………………………………….I wouldn’t do one for guns or anything like that

……………………………or poison

……………………………………………………..or fascism

……….just sweets, or beer, or cheese, milk

………………………………..flowers

pets

……………………ciggies

Where was I?

Stewart Lee opened with a routine about Cafe Nero loyalty cards. Before getting into it he asked an audience member to name their favourite coffee franchise. The audience member said Starbucks.

I’d’ve said Muffin Break. I went there today. They have a loyalty card they hole punch instead of marking with ink. And you get a free coffee every five goes. Also, all their muffins are baked on the premises and the staff in the Lewisham branch are unglamorous and say hello and smile

…………………..maybe I can be the face of Muffin Break

….I’ve lost this post completely.

robert-lloyd

Robert lloyd out of The Nightingales

I’m reading Renegade; The Lives and tales of Mark E. Smith at the mo and it’s a right old read. The Fall; a band that’s had 10,000 members, all hired and fired by Prestwich’s finest living man. Ok, some of them walked, but they don’t count. I haven’t got a clue what The Fall are on about most of the time, but that’s ok by me. It takes me about 20 years on average to get to grips with lyrics. The sound comes first and then maybe later I’ll fill in some gaps. Or not bother. Yes, not bother. if I just want words I’ll buy a book. That’s what I did with Renegade and it’s a book that won’t shut up.

So, that’s a long roundabout way to get to the Nightingales. I’ve never known of them, but they’ve been around a bit, and over the years they’ve hobnobbed with The Fall. That’s it. That’s the connection. I think Mark E. Smith may like the Nightingales; may even be friends with Robert Lloyd, the band’s singer and songwriter. But then again…

Watch this and read this and see where you are. I know this; Mark E. Smith always makes me think of my Uncle Ken. I’m not sure why. Something to do with pubs in Prestwich.

So, last night I went along with Ben Norris to see The Nightingales. Although we were firstly there to see the support to the support to the support, David Cronenberg’s Wife. See them sing My Best Friend’s Going out with a Girl I Like.

The support to the support have gone from my mind, but the support was the marvellous and wilfully perverse Ted Chippington, a comedian who does his best to make an audience, well, angry. A comedian reading from notes, in German… or Russian, or Polish. I don’t know. A comedian who calls out for subject matter from the audience and then refuses to make a joke out of it.

When me and Trev started doing comedy in 1982 as The DevilfishhornClub we used to tell these “jokes”.

Joke 1. My dog’s got no nose. How does he smell? He can’t, he’s got no nose.

Joke 2. Have you seen my mother-in-law? No, course you haven’t. I’m not even married.

Joke 3. Doctor, doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains. You need to see apsychiatrist, you’re obviously mentally ill.

And so on. You get the idea. Anti-jokes. Then we got into kids tv and had to start smiling and pointing at each other on publicity cards.

I think we were maybe a little Chippington-esque. We certainly did enough hard gigs supporting local bands at the International in Rusholme. We even attempted comedy at the Hacienda, along with the Buzzcocks and the Redskins at a Lesbians and Gays support the Miners gig. Now there’s a combo-title you don’t see too often these days.

Anyways, I’m going off the point. Ted Chippington was great and awful, good and bad. Stewart Lee and his wife were there and me and Ben said hello. I muttered somethig inane about how his current show, The Stewart Lee Comedy Vehicle (BBC2), has had me laughing out loud. I’m a fan, and as a fan can’t help acting like a fan. He was very gracious about it. And like Ted, Stewart will push his audience, taking a joke as far as he possibly can, taking it all the way around the world until it comes back at you, anti-funny. And funnier. I wanted to find Stewart Lee talking about the rappers but couldn’t so have a look at him taking on Joe Pasquale in this great clip. Then, for a treat, watch Stewart Lee track down Ted Chippington.

I know. That’s a lot to make you watch. If you choose one item from the above links choose Stewart Lee does Joe Pasquale.

cue-at-100-club

"get to the end of the cue"

I’d been playing pool all day; Interleague. My team, Waterloo 2, won all three matches, but no thanks to me, only managing 2 out of 6 frames. I had to take my cue to the 100 Club. I left it propped up by the photo wall. By the end of the evening it had gone. The staff weren’t much help. Eventually I tracked it down to behind the bar. They guy behind the bar, before handing it back, quizzed me as to what it looked like. A pool cue. He brought out the box. He wouldn’t hand it over. He wanted to know what colour it was. I think they were a bit pissed off because I hadn’t paid to put it in the cloakroom.

“If there was a career ladder Ted would have been carrying it rather than climbing it.” James Brown.

“I suppose there’s a case to be made, he was this country’s Andy Kaufman.” Phil Jupitus.