Jay Richardson

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Herman Koch - The Dinner

18 Jul 20124 stars

Gripping Dutch bestseller deals with sticky family drama

(Atlantic) An English translation of a Dutch bestseller, The Dinner is audacious, bone dry in its humour and a gripping addition to the disturbed-teen-destroys-family genre. The difference here is the lengths to which the family will stoop in order…

Interview: David Baddiel on how being misunderstood is almost part of the job

29 Jul 2013

The comedian, author and one-time chart-topper makes a long-awaited return to the Edinburgh Fringe

Even after selling out Wembley Arena with Robert Newman in 1993, initiating the era of massive comedy gigs in the UK and prompting Janet Street-Porter to famously declare comedy ‘the new rock’n’roll’, David Baddiel ‘never really felt in my soul…

Interview: Vladimir McTavish and Keir McAllister look at the state of Scotland

21 Mar 2014

The pair's long-running independence show is evolving as the referendum draws near

Regardless of what happens on September 18, Vladimir McTavish and Keir McAllister have no doubt that the public is more engaged with the independence referendum than when they began performing their Look at the State of Scotland shows in 2012. ‘We had a…

Interview: Bridget Christie on success and becoming an unlikely feminist icon

24 Feb 2014

2013 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner takes A Bic for Her on UK tour

Having previously considered downsizing her comedy career, Bridget Christie has experienced a massive surge in popularity. Jay Richardson chats to a seemingly unlikely feminist icon. Seven months after she debuted A Bic for Her at the Edinburgh Fringe…

Philip Roscoe - I Spend Therefore I Am: the True Cost of Economics

18 Feb 20143 stars

An easy to grasp analysis of how economics has infiltrated every aspect of modern living

A straightforward, easy to grasp analysis, Philip Roscoe's politically charged denunciation of economics' primacy in the modern world highlights the dire consequences of applying a market mentality to such areas as car safety, organ donorship…

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Joke Thieves: The show that encourages stealing material

29 Jan 2014

The show lets comedians 'duplicate, spoof, parody, deconstruct or destroy' other comics' sets

There’s a tacit understanding on the comedy circuit that plagiarism is one of the worst crimes a comic can commit. But at Joke Thieves, acts have to swap routines – each does five minutes of their own material before reproducing five minutes by someone…

Interview: comedian Keiron Nicholson of BBC Radio Scotland series Backpackers Anonymous

16 Sep 2013

'All of the stories involve me being an idiot in some way'

Travelling tales can be a great resource for any comic but Keiron Nicholson's routines from the six months he spent roaming South East Asia earned him a BBC Radio Scotland series. Backpackers Anonymous was so-called 'because all of the stories involve…

Dundonian Paul Pirie brings stand-up to 2013 Edinburgh Free Fringe

29 Jul 2013

When funny bones meets focus

A mainstay of Scottish stand-up who decamped to Essex, Paul Pirie has always possessed a maverick streak. Expelled for constantly clowning around in school, the Dundonian dedicated his job at Primark to cheering up depressed colleagues and customers. A…

Comedian, storyteller and writer Janey Godley to release debut stand-up album

19 Jul 2013

Janey Godley is Ungagged is the Glasgow comic's first album despite 18 years in the business

Eighteen years a stand-up, Janey Godley is only now releasing her debut album. Recorded at the Comedy Cafe Theatre in London last month, Janey Godley is Ungagged will appear on CD and audio download, a mixture of new material and greatest hits. The…

Gallery: World Press Photo exhibition 2013 visits Edinburgh Festival

18 Jul 2013

Free exhibition of some of this years most important photographs

Founded in 1955, the annual World Press Photo contest has showcased some of the most striking, shocking and memorable pictures in photographic history. But as visitors will discover when the exhibition of winning entries returns to Edinburgh, the…

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'The Comedy Explorers' Alternative Comedy Club' and 'Comedy and Cocktails'

15 May 2013

Jay Richardson talk us through the hot new comedy clubs in Glasgow

The current slow-down in gig attendances, suggesting even comedy isn't recession-proof, puts new nights under pressure to be distinctive. Two ambitious ventures launched in Glasgow recently take diametrically-opposed approaches to persuading punters…

Matt Haig - The Humans

17 Apr 20134 stars

Astute, drolly hilarious and beautiful insight into what it is to be human

As Matt Haig acknowledges at the end of this marvellously humane and very funny fifth novel, both The Humans and his writing career originated in a breakdown that became a breakthrough. Recovering from severe panic attacks by reading and crafting…

Luke Wright - Mondeo Man

22 Feb 20134 stars

Poetry collection with a rich strain of empathy from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe favourite

Performance poet Luke Wright’s Cynical Ballads was an unquestioned highlight of the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe, earning gushing reviews for his witty, unsparing view of modern England. Several pieces from that show are reproduced here in his debut poetry…

Sanderson Jones brings his atheist church services to Glasgow

20 Feb 2013

The innovative comedian is appearing as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival

Sanderson Jones is one of stand-up’s great innovators, an irrepressible ideas man. Over a predictably faltering Skype connection, the strikingly tall, bearded, sometime face of the IKEA ads, admits to occasional gremlins during a tech-comedy gig the…

Rising star Wayne Mazadza on comedy competitions and sidestepping stereotypes

20 Feb 2013

The Harare-born, Edinburgh-based comic is appearing at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival

Wayne Mazadza writes routines to surprise his fellow comedians, ‘with unpredictable punchlines, storylines with surreal endings that really bring justice to the set-up’. Fine-tuning them for up to six months, the Harare-born, Edinburgh-based comic…

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Comedian John Bishop talks to us ahead of his Rollercoaster tour

13 Sep 2012

The Liverpudlian has spent his year taking on charity challenges and hobnobbing with the stars

‘Two days ago I was sat with Edward Norton, Will Ferrell, Graeme Le Saux and Patrick Kielty,’ John Bishop marvels. ‘Then Edwin van der Sar joined us, then Gerard Butler. We’re having a chat and Kenny Dalglish comes over and says, "Do you want a drink?…

Daniel Simonsen, Magnus Betnér and Carl-Einar Häckner represent Scandinavia at Fringe 2012

29 Jul 2012

Decent weather, proper coffee, the joys of education, enlightenment and engaging with your fellow human being. Just some of the benefits of spending time away from the UK. But what’s the point of learning another language now that so many fine foreign…

Marek Larwood's Edinburgh Fringe show examines own history of unfortunate roles

25 Jul 2012

Erstwhile member of anarchic sketch trio We Are Klang goes solo

Down on his luck, an insecure Marek Larwood self-Googled, only to find that the top search query was ‘Marek Larwood retarded’. As one-third of the acclaimed, anarchic sketch trio We Are Klang, he’s accustomed to ‘talking ball-bag’ and ‘Gollum after he’s…

The Beta Males Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012

25 Jul 2012

Cold War paranoia, a classified British space programme and morris dancing

Speaking to us collectively from mission control, The Beta Males have successfully channelled their proclivity for ‘watching bad movies and not kissing girls’, with founder member John Henry Falle accompanied by Jon Gracey, Guy Kelly and Richard Soames…

Gavin Webster brings provocatively-titled Bill Hicks Wasn't Very Good to Edinburgh Fringe

25 Jul 2012

Taking a hit for slaughtering comedy’s sacred cow

‘People are already misquoting me, telling me I’m doing a show called Bill Hicks Was Fucking Rubbish,’ Gavin Webster marvels. ‘Comics are posting Facebook updates, saying, “he can’t understand much about comedy if he thinks this.”’ The occasionally…

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Kai Humphries on UK tour

18 Jul 2012

Geordie comedian on Ross Noble's mum & touring with Daniel Sloss

Heckling is a comedian’s occupational hazard. Still, it’s an unfortunate stand-up that suffers verbal from an ex-teacher, even if, in mitigating circumstances, it’s Ross Noble’s mum. ‘Always the mischievous one at school,’ Kai Humphries explains that…

Interview: Alan Davies brings Life Is Pain to 2012 Edinburgh Fringe

11 Jul 2012

Jonathan Creek star on stand-up, therapy and Hillsborough

Prior to recording, QI’s elves flash interesting facts up on monitors for the audience. What they don’t reveal, as Alan Davies is explaining to me at a café in Highbury Corner, is that budget cuts have meant they’re now shooting two shows a day: ‘a hell…

Interview: The silent comedy of Dr Brown at 2012 Edinburgh Festival

11 Jul 2012

The Californian cult comic returns to Edinburgh Fringe with Befrdfgth

‘You have to let us see you post-coital,’ orders Dr Brown, gently but firmly. ‘When you’re lying there with your lover, dude, and you’re just staring into her eyes, because you just came, you know? You’ve given her everything. You’re not hiding…

Juli Zeh - The Method

16 Mar 20124 stars

A riveting intellectual and emotional thriller set in a dystopian future

(Harvill Secker) German author Juli Zeh’s translated 2009 novel is an Orwellian vision of the near future in which civilisation adheres to the stark principles of The Method. Priority is given to physical health over mental freedom of the mind with…

Helen Schulman - This Beautiful Life

1 Feb 20123 stars

Slightly outdated family drama that retains some timeliness and authenticity

(Atlantic) With frightening believability, New York novelist Helen Schulman depicts a single, unthinking mouse-click tearing a family apart. Set in 2003, aspects of This Beautiful Life are outdated, but the key dramatic action of a 15-year-old boy…