My Comedy Hero: Nick Revell on Richard Pryor

My Comedy Hero: Nick Revell on Richard Pryor

One of the veterans of the UK comedy scene, Nick Revell is taking his BrokenDreamCatcher show across the UK. Here, he picks the US icon as his comedy hero

Comedy heroes? There are a few. Richard Pryor and that first concert film (1979? '80?) which completely reinvented stand-up for me. Expanded the possibilities in every direction. Subject matter: raw confessional, social comment, surreal narrative. Technique: sudden brilliant changes of perspective with a gallery of characters (human, animal and abstract). He performed long set-pieces so vividly that you wondered afterwards if there had been lighting changes to reinforce the scene. So you go back to see it again, and no, it was just him putting pictures in your head. Oh, and on top of all that, he starts the gig with the House Lights Up! No announcement, with people still returning to their seats; he just slides on, starts working the room, slow and easy, and within no time at all that whole huge place is cooking. Wow!

Also, Monty Python and Connolly, of course … Pete and Dud … the amazing Marty Feldman: the hooligan bishop; the vet's waiting room with the unseen monster in the crate; the Loneliness of the Long-Distance Golfer; Lightning Tours. Just recalling those bits brings back the pain of almost literally side-splitting laughter.

Laurel and Hardy with that global appeal. So apparently gentle, but such profound resonance about the human condition that it's hardly a surprise Beckett references them so directly. And Sharon Horgan for how she makes rage and humiliation and nastiness so raw, honest and hilarious, and transcends it all to be just human. And she reminds us this is possible despite all the shit we have to swim in.

Nick Revell: BrokenDreamCatcher is on tour until Wednesday 17 April.

Nick Revell: BrokenDreamCatcher

Satirical surreal stories in the style of his R4 series BrokenDreamCatcher.

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