Simon Munnery

Simon Munnery: surrealism on screen

Few established stand-ups have such a restless commitment to experimentalism as Simon Munnery. A stalwart of Britain’s leftfield comedy scene, Munnery has in recent years ventured even further into uncharted terrain, not least with La Concepta, a routine staging a ‘conceptual restaurant’.

His latest show was effectively an extension of last year’s Fylm Makker, where Munnery sat in the audience and projected the show onto a large screen. Titled simply Fylm, this new tour found him again playing with the conventions of performance to intriguing and hilarious effect. Read the rest of this entry »

Frisky & Mannish

Frisky & Mannish: Photo by Rosie Collins

Musical comedy duo Frisky & Mannish will be bringing their vast repertoire of inspired pop parodies and gags to Wolverhampton Wulfrun on Thursday November 1st. The pair have long been getting rave reviews for their well-observed shows which take a whole range of genres and performers and skewer them to within an inch of their life. Extra-Curricular Activities, their latest show, promises the usual live extravaganza of bewitching cabaret and comedy.

You can see their take on ‘Wuthering Heights’ here, which melds Kate Bush and Kate Nash to hilarious effect.

To buy tickets for this show please visit the Wolverhampton Civic Hall & Wulfrun Hall website. Tickets are £15. Read the rest of this entry »

Festival of the Spoken Nerd

Festival of the Spoken Nerd: Image by Idul Sukan

“The show takes longer if you get all the jokes.” Matt Parker is one-third of geek comedy trio Festival of the Spoken Nerd, along with Helen Arney and Steve Mould. Parker and co revelled in experimentation during this show, but not the kind usually associated with the likes of deconstructionist comics such as Stewart Lee, Simon Munnery or Tony Law.

Instead, the three-piece enjoyed sharing a host of demonstrations which highlighted the wonder of science and maths; a corner of the universe where bar codes and flammable tubes are equal sources of entertainment. Read the rest of this entry »

In recent months Birmingham has seen some fledgling comedy clubs starting up to offer something a little bit different. Along with the fortnightly Comedy At the Hare & Hounds night run by local comedian James Cook, Kill For a Seat’s Birmingham chapter kicked off this summer and has taken up a welcome residency at the MAC. A comedy club in an arts centre might sound like a misnomer, but clearly there’s an appetite for something a little more leftfield than the shows hosted by Highlight and the Glee Club.

Certainly, the acts at Kill For a Seat appear to be more Radio 4-friendly than either of those locations, although some of the conventions of comedy clubs remain. Compere Andrew Ryan started off the latest gig by getting to know the audience, including a personal trainer sat on the front row who was repeatedly drawn into conversation and pulled up on stage to test his prowess. Read the rest of this entry »

Tom Wrigglesworth

Tom Wrigglesworth: Not your average compere

For the latest Kill For a Seat night at the MAC, there was one obvious difference compared with previous shows. This time around, there was no appearance from regular compere Silky but he was instead replaced by Sheffield-born stand-up Tom Wrigglesworth.

Ostensibly known for being a storytelling comedian, Wrigglesworth’s amiable chatter wasn’t what you’d necessarily expect from a compere, but then Kill For a Seat is more relaxed and laidback than a lot of comedy clubs so his cosy style was more than fitting. 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 »

Stewart Lee: Escaping his certain fate...

Earlier this summer seasoned stand-up Stewart Lee celebrated 25 years of doing shows at the Edinburgh Festival. His Silver Stewbilee marked a very busy year for him, along with the launch of a book about stand-up called How I Escaped My Certain Fate – where he annotates some of his most recent and enjoyable sets.

But for Lee – who plays at Birmingham Town Hall on Saturday October 16th – this is merely a stopgap. His latest show, Vegetable Stew, once again attracted critical acclaim at Edinburgh and there’s a second series of his Comedy Vehicle TV series in the pipeline. Read the rest of this entry »

Miles Jupp: a different class

Self-confessed ‘privileged’ stand-up Miles Jupp doesn’t pay much attention to the news. It’s an odd confession from a comic who presents one of BBC Radio’s flagship topical comedy shows, namely Radio 7’s Newsjack – the logical heir to Weekending, given that it offers up the airwaves to sketches and gags from new and aspiring comedy writers.

In truth, it seems like Jupp lives in his own bubble, and that appears to be just how he likes it. A familiar face and voice to comedy fans – he’s appeared alongside such stand-up stalwarts as Stewart Lee and Simon Munnery, made a guest appearance as a hapless PR officer in The Thick of It, and narrated the radio series from much-loved sketch troupe the Penny Dreadfuls – as well as children, for his role in Balamory. Read the rest of this entry »