Anyone with a penchant for a pun and a liking for a laugh is well served by this year’s line-up, reading like a who’s who of the big room circuit and the ubiquitous TV panel shows that have made many here household names. Here’s a few for whom we’ll be loosening our corsets.
SIMON AMSTELL – DO NOTHING
Concert Hall Sun 11th – Mon 12th
We’ve always loved Simon Amstell. Anyone sacked from Nickelodeon for being ‘mean to children’ and making Britney cry for asking if she’d gone a bit nuts is good with us. Now with Popworld and Buzzcocks behind him, Simon is concentrating on his stand-up – a highly personal and seemingly cathartic rendering of his caustic psyche that reflects the banal reality of most of our lives as we shuffle helplessly towards the grave. Cheery stuff it probably won’t be, but knowing this tousle-haired troublemaker, highly amusing it should be.
SEAN HUGHES – WHAT I MEANT TO SAY WAS…
Corn Exchange Fri 16th
It’s a shocking realisation that young shavers among the SOURCE readership were probably still in nappies the last time Sean Hughes properly graced our televisions. Even for us, memories of Sean’s Show and his Buzzcocks captaincy seem an awfully long way off, but he’s back doing what he does best with a brand new show to cement his position as one of stand-up’s best practitioners. Expect laconic wit, sarcastic asides and a Smiths t-shirt.
JIMMY CARR – RAPER WIT
Concert Hall Sat 16th – Sun 17th
The Marmite of comedy, Jimmy Carr seems to inspire strong reactions whichever side of the fence you fall on. A less than selective TV career inspires much of the ire directed his way, his big smug punchable face plenty more. But there’s really no denying his aptitude at machine gun delivery of one-liners – a sick, tasteless take on the Bob Monkhouse school of comedy. His act tends to be diluted by less successful skits on small ads and merchandise, but the meat of the show is matchless.
STEPHEN GRANT – MADE IN BRIGHTON
Corn Exchange Sun 18th
A deserved mention for our hometown hero and interview star of our Comedy Festival issue last year. Stephen Grant is the archetypal Brighton comic whose years on the local circuit and beyond have provided him with a wealth of anecdotes and observations about the city which work great for the London crowds but go down a veritable storm here. This is his first dedicated city-themed show, and performing to a home crowd he surely can’t go wrong.
STEWART LEE – IF YOU PREFER A MILDER COMEDIAN, PLEASE ASK FOR ONE
Corn Exchange Mon 19th – Tues 20th
For audiences who find Norman Lovett’s delivery a bit quick and racy, we present the resolutely downbeat Stewart Lee. His verbose condescension is certainly not to everyone’s tastes, but there’s just something about the way he deconstructs traditional joke telling into a laborious, drawn out affair that we’ve always really liked. There’s nothing here you’ll be able to repeat at work in the morning and you’ll probably come away not remembering a single joke as such, but that’s part of what makes Lee truly unique and for our money one of the very best in the business.
AL MURRAY – THE PUB LANDLORD’S BEAUTIFUL BRITISH TOUR
Concert Hall Weds 21st – Thurs 22nd
The self-styled guv’nor returns to the stage to toast the Great British Public as he cleverly lampoons stereotypical working class views on race, gender and economics. You realise that, we realise that. But take a look at the knuckle-dragging audience on his TV show, a sea of beery grins and sovereign rings, and it looks like they might be taking it all a bit seriously. It’s very broad humour and while Murray is an accomplished comedian and a genial bloke out of character, this act is getting a bit old now.
GRUMPY OLD WOMEN
Concert Hall Mon 19th
Attention men of Brighton! Tonight is your night to sit at home on the sofa, scratching yourself and watching Top Gear reruns on Dave. For this is no place for a man. Jenny Eclair leads the HRT brigade onstage as they rage against the modern world by steadfastly refusing to accept that it’s better than the three-day week of yesteryear with its house-high piles of bin bags and only three channels on the telly. One good thing about Grumpy Old Women is that Rick Wakemen isn’t on it (only just though, check his girlie hair), but that’s grasping at straws. Strictly one for your mum and her mates.
SHAPPI KHORSANDI – THE DISTRACTED ACTIVIST
Pavilion Theatre Tues 20th
It can be a blessing in disguise arriving on the scene on the crest of a political wave. Shappi is a natural comedian, not yet quite at the top of her game if her recent nervous TV appearances are anything to go by, but that’s certainly no bad thing. But basing most of your act on your ethnicity and background will wear thin a lot quicker than she realises – yes, we know you’re from Iran. Got any jokes though?