Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Three men walk into a pub..."

Over the past few years I have been drifting away from movies and more into comedy. I remember watching "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" when I was kid in England and loved the mix of American, Canadian and British humour on offer. Whilst at boarding school I remember watching the repeat of "Have I Got News For You" and loved the show for the wit and political satire.

My love for comedy was rekindled thanks to Youtube. I find old episodes of "Have I Got News For You" online and it is great to watch classic episodes such as the Angus Deayton scandal or recently the Brian Blessed episode. Through Youtube I have also gotten to like "QI" and "Mock the Week", which are probably my two favourite shows.

I am partial to British humour, for its wit and sarcasm, the cynicism and the political satire. That is not to say I don't like American humour. The USA are best at stand-up comedy (which I love) and sitcoms (which are not my cup of tea). Everybody in school loved "Frasier" for its wit and there is no better political satire on TV right now than "The Daily Show", with Jon Stewart being the best at his job.

So why am I writing all this? Last Friday I went to my first comedy gig. I like to say it was unusual place to hold a comedy gig - a curry house - but the Punchline Comedy Club have been doing this gig for years. They have comedians I have seen or heard of, such as Paul Sinha (who shows that doctors can be funny) and Mark Watson. This time around I only really heard of one of the comedians - Andy Parsons from "Mock the Week". I like his kind of humour; it is more along the lines of wit. He was very funny on the night but a lot of the jokes I have heard before as I download all the episodes of "Mock the Week" and watch them again and again and again.

That is not to say the other two comedians - Mark Walker and Russell Kane - weren't bad. They were bloody hilarious. I haven't laughed that hard for ages. In fact I laughed so hard, I was coughing too much at the end and the lady in front of me was probably scared I had tuberculosis.

As an obsessive compulsive, I tend to categorize comedians into what kind of comedy they do. Obvious categories include the impressionists, which include Darrell Hammond from "Saturday Night Live", Jon Culshaw from "Dead Ringers", Rory Bremner from "Bremner, Bird and Fortune" and Hugh Dennis from "The Now Show" and "Mock the Week". There are comedians who use bad taste and political incorrectness as their main weapons, such as Jimmy Carr from "8 Out of 10 Cats" and Frankie Boyle from "Mock the Week". Comedians such as Jeremy Hardy, Mark Steel, Ian Hislop and Jon Stewart use political satire in their work. Sean Lock, Russell Howard and Johnny Vegas are the ones who think of ridiculous ideas and just make them funny. So there is fun for everybody.

Next time I will probably like to see a comedy gig where I do not know the comedians, so I don't have any preconceptions.

I also have advice for anybody wishing to attend a comedy gig. I thought this piece of knowledge would be obvious but apparently, after attending the comedy gig last week, it is not. If you don't want to be picked on or you have an obvious trait which can be picked on such as having a manic laugh, being old or being American, don't sit in the front where the comedian can see you.

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