Tony Law

Tony Law: Bringing 'Maximum Nonsense' to Coventry

Canadian stand-up Tony Law has resided in England for so long that, by his own admission, his accent can be a little hard to place sometimes. The same could be said of his identity too – after more than an hour of Maximum Nonsense, the audience was no closer to learning who he really is.

Beloved by critics, it’s taken a while for Law’s popularity to grow but the packed studio showed that word has got out after rave reviews for his shows at the Edinburgh Festival and at leftfield comedy nights such as Storytellers’ Club and the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society. Read the rest of this entry »

Simon Munnery: Cerebral stand-up and conceptual meals

Simon Munnery‘s cerebral stand-up has been lighting up the comedy circuit for a long time now, and if his profile is not as high now as it was 10-15 years ago – he was a fixture on Radio 1 and Radio 4, plus his BBC2 show Attention Scum! saw Munnery entering the public consciousness – he remains an acclaimed, if oddball, figure in British comedy.

His current tour, Self-Employed, found him on typically intelligent form – surreal gags, non-sequiturs and deconstructions of his own jokes (or ‘heckling’ as he called it) followed in this hour-long show which proved what a sharp comic brain Munnery has, allied with his willingness to take risks. Sometimes the audience weren’t quite with him, but on the whole those chances paid off handsomely. Read the rest of this entry »

Simon Munnery: "If only there was a God, there'd be no need for CCTV."

The phrase “intelligent stand-up” is bandied around a little too loosely sometimes, but it couldn’t be more appropriate when used to describe Simon Munnery. Ferociously creative and imaginative with a deeply intellectual streak, Munnery‘s surreal and deftly crafted stand-up has been a staple of the British comedy scene for several years, and he’ll be known to many as part of the purple patch of British comedy in the mid-to-late 1990s.

An acolyte of Stewart Lee et al, Munnery is famous for his Alan Parker Urban Warrior character, the League Against Tedium – as featured in his short-lived bu critically acclaimed BBC TV series Attention Scum – and more recently his Annual General Meeting shows. A stand-up stalwart, Simon is heading out on tour with his current show Self Employed. We spoke to him to catch a glimpse of the man behind the microphone. Read the rest of this entry »

Stewart Lee: Not a fan of Adrian Chiles...

The latest tour from Stewart Lee, titled Vegetable Stew, sees the revered stand-up trying out material which will feature in the second series of his TV show, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. It follows a string of deservedly lauded stand-up shows from Lee, some of which are critiqued in his book, How I Escaped My Certain Fate.

Simon Munnery, who himself appeared in the first series of …Comedy Vehicle, lended support at this show, offering a steady supply of surreal gags, poems and stories. The audience seemed a little non-plussed at some of his material – perhaps not surprising given that some of his jokes “require further reading”. Read the rest of this entry »

Armstrong and Miller: Flying high

The opening night of Birmingham Comedy Festival 2010 sees a performance by arguably the biggest act at this year’s festival – hugely popular sketch duo Armstrong & Miller, who bring their touring show to the Alexandra Theatre.

You can expect their set to be peppered with characters from their acclaimed BBC TV series, which is still going strong. Both Ben Miller and Alexander Armstrong have also worked on other projects individually, but the pair have an imaginative yet familiar approach which has won them many fans, and this is bound to be cemented by the Armstrong & Miller live experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Surreal Canadian comic Tony Law. Time-travelling dog not pictured.

For those of you who have not heard of the Comedy Junction, you are in for a treat. I too was unaware even though this gem of a monthly Birmingham comedy night goes on in my very own home town, Sutton Coldfield.

Who’d have thought this archetypal suburb would have such a draw for headline acts? The committed crowd upstairs at The Station have witnessed the likes of Chris Addison, Ross Noble, Reginald D Hunter, Alan Carr, Lee Mack (regularly), Russell Howard, Russell Kane and Tim Lane to name but a few. Read the rest of this entry »

For four eyes only? Luton lyricist John Hegley

Poet turned comedian John Hegley must have missed his calling in life. Every inch the cool but slightly frustrated teacher, this family-friendly show saw Hegley adjusting to his well-suited role of being at the front of the class.

His current tour comes at a time when some of his earlier work has been given repeat runs on BBC Radio 7, including Hearing With Hegley and also the surreal Adventures of John and Tony, where he was teamed with Simon Munnery. Read the rest of this entry »

A Law unto himself

Canadian stand-up Tony Law: a Law unto himself

Two comics with altogether different styles took on the ever-peculiar surroundings of Birmingham’s Old Joint Stock Theatre – a dark-lined box on the second floor of an old pub hosted by a Victorian butler-type figure, on Wednesday night.

Tony Law with his over-the-top cartoonish comedy and John Gordillo, with his – perhaps unintentional – loveable uncle routine. Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Herring: Son of a (head) teacher man

Keeping a diary has always been a way for people to record their thoughts and document the moments of their life which seem most note-worthy, perhaps to look back on in years to come. But what would our future selves make of the words penned in earlier years, perhaps even during adolescence?

Richard Herring’s current show, The Headmaster’s Son, attempted to identify whether having a parent who was also his school’s head teacher was responsible for how his life has turned out. At the age of 41, Herring’s past few shows have dealt with the subject of a mid-life crisis, but this one delved back into the memories of his childhood and teenage years, with his diaries as ideal source material. Read the rest of this entry »