Comedy

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Derren Brown: the UK’s best showman?

1 Apr 2015

The svengali of misdirection promises you a miracle on his latest UK tour

A master showman or a total show-off? Well, no one likes the latter but you could argue that we are in dire need of more from the former camp. Derren Brown has been called both, and much else besides: after being baffled by a particularly fiendish…

New Daily Show host Trevor Noah is already in Twitter trouble

31 Mar 2015

Jokes on the social network about women and Jews has made comedian's anointment kinda awkward

The online ink is barely dry celebrating the announcement that senior international correspondent Trevor Noah is to become the next host of The Daily Show, replacing the much loved Jon Stewart, and already Comedy Central bosses might have a bit of an…

Interview: Force Majeure director Ruben Östlund – ‘Sometimes we’d rather die than lose our identity’

31 Mar 2015

The Swedish director talks to us about YouTube, the ‘worst man cry’ and survival instincts

If you’ve seen the YouTube video of Ruben Östlund’s reaction when his latest film wasn’t nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar, you’ll go some way towards understanding the offbeat humour of said film, Force Majeure. In the video, the Swedish…

Katherine Ryan takes Glam Role Model on tour

31 Mar 2015

The Canadian comic’s acclaimed show confronts celebrity and female identity

Katherine Ryan won’t be one for pushing her daughter into the entertainment business in order to follow in mummy’s footsteps. And perhaps little Violet might not be especially keen in any case. ‘She watches a lot of comedy but thinks it’s very…

My Comedy Hero: Aisling Bea on Katherine Ryan and Sara Pascoe

31 Mar 2015

The Irish comic shares memories of two pals and inspirations

Some people admire the aspirational rock star figures whose biopics make it to TV, the people they watched as kids and made them want to play football for England. For some comics, it is often the Doug Stanhopes and the Joan Rivers. It’s not to say…

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Who needs monogamy? Let's get physical

26 Mar 2015

Comedian Rosie Wilby discusses the pros and cons of monogamy at Edinburgh Science Festival

Is monogamy dead? When posing this question as the title to my 2013 Edinburgh Fringe show, I had no idea that I was embarking on a monumental emotional journey. The time constraints of the Fringe comedy format meant that I could only really scratch the…

The best Edinburgh Science Festival arts and culture events

26 Mar 2015

From drone orchestras to geek songs, we’ve picked our top tips for this year's science fest

The white coats are let out for the day to hop on their bikes as part of Edinburgh International Science Festival’s Street Science team. Engaging with audiences across the city, the aim is to shake up science, blow off the cobwebs and prove that it’s…

Get Hard

25 Mar 20153 stars

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart pair up for a rollercoaster of a race relations comedy

Race relations are placed under a comic spotlight, but Blazing Saddles this ain't. When innocent hedge fund exec James King (Will Ferrell) finds out that he is being sent to prison for fraud, he assumes car-wash owner Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) can…

Dara Ó Briain takes Crowd Tickler on tour

24 Mar 2015

The Irish craic dealer talks adlibbing and angel therapists

The king of audience interaction is back, so if you happen to have booked yourself a spot in the front row, prepare to get involved once Irish wag Dara Ó Briain directs his gaze upon you. He describes his renowned bantering with the crowd as ‘a…

Interview: Jonny & The Baptists talk UKIP, the general election and political songs

19 Mar 2015

We chat to the musical comedy act ahead of their Rock the Vote tour

Ahead of their Rock the Vote show, the musical comedy pair talked to our Comedy Editor Brian Donaldson about all things British politics, from voting to the general election.

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Stewart Lee: A Room With A Stew

16 Mar 20154 stars

The Comedy Vehicle comedian continues to intrigue, influence and irritate in wonderful measure

A couple of years ago, the Daily Telegraph’s longstanding comedy correspondent reviewed Stewart Lee’s then touring show, Much A-Stew About Nothing. Or rather, he reviewed the first half because, boasting rather too gleefully, he walked out at the…

Interview: Caitlin Moran, How To Build A Girl

16 Mar 2015

Journalist, author and writer of sitcom Raised by Wolves takes our First & Last quiz

Comedian and writer Caitlin Moran is on tour again with How To Build A Girl, we caught up with the wannabe Mrs Edward Scissorhands to find out if the kids or the laptop would be the first thing she'd save from her burning home …

The Voices

16 Mar 20154 stars

Ryan Reynolds plays a blinder in this entertaining comedy horror

'The cat made me do it!' exclaims Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) at one point in Marjane Satrapi’s visually striking comedy horror and to his mind he’s not lying. Jerry hears voices. His regular conversations with his cat and dog are comforting to him and, if…

Because I’m Shappi: clap along as Shappi Khorsandi heads on tour

12 Mar 2015

The comedian reflects on the 'haphazard zigzag' towards her dreams in her new show

Following up shows such as Asylum Speaker and The Distracted Activist, the Tehran-born Shappi Khorsandi has been doing the comedy thing for the best part of 20 years. Dubbed by the New Statesman (the mag rather than that awful Tory played by the late…

Five things you might not know about John Shuttleworth

10 Mar 2015

The polo-necked Yorkshireman hits the road with A Wee Ken To Remember

The man behind John Shuttleworth, Sheffield’s finest singer-songwriter, is Graham Fellows. At the age of 19, Fellows hit the charts with ‘Jilted John’, met Debbie Harry on Top of the Pops, and appeared in Coronation Street as one of Gail Potter’s early…

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My Comedy Hero: Gary Delaney on Adrian Juste

10 Mar 2015

One-liner comic Gary Delaney shares memories of a radio influence

For me the real hero is the person who first introduces you to something and helps you take your first steps in a new world. So my comedy hero, for introducing me to the entire world of stand-up comedy is 1980s Radio 1 DJ, Adrian Juste. In fact, from…

Interview: Jon Ronson on his new book, So You Think You've Been Publicly Shamed

6 Mar 2015

Journalist and broadcaster investigates a new kind of threat: it’s us, on social media

The pros and cons of the internet have long been a source for great debate – and with the rise of social media, the arguments are raging even further. For Jon Ronson, journalist, broadcaster and highly active member of the Twitterati, on balance it’s…

Ellie Taylor takes Elliementary on tour

5 Mar 2015

Snog Marry Avoid host talks stand-up and sausage fests

Making the move from telly presenter to bona fide stand-up comic is not always the smoothest of transitions. Yet while Ellie Taylor may still be best known as the host of such shows as Snog Marry Avoid? and was a team captain in ITV2’s Fake Reaction…

Unfinished Business

4 Mar 20153 stars

Mixed bag comedy from Ken Scott starring Vince Vaughn and Sienna Miller

What happens to those who don’t fit corporate America? They become small business owners like Daniel Trunkman (Vince Vaughn), a doting father and husband, and the sensitive, indefatigable boss to two loyal employees: Tim (Tom Wilkinson) – fired from his…

Appropriate Behaviour

2 Mar 20154 stars

Hilarious, accomplished and idiosyncratic debut from Desiree Akhavan

Appropriate Behaviour is a beautifully observed breakup comedy told from the perspective of a Persian-American bisexual woman, living in Brooklyn, who is afraid to come out to her parents. Desiree Akhavan (recently seen in Lena Dunham’s Girls…

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Life of Riley

2 Mar 20154 stars

Alain Resnais' final film is an elegant closer to a fine career

Alain Resnais died last March at the age of 91, just three weeks after his final work was among the prize winners at Berlin. It's heartening to discover that the playful, experimental instincts that marked his 70 year career remained constant until the…

Radio preview: Rik Mayall season, Radio 4 Extra

27 Feb 2015

BBC radio marks Mayall's 57th birthday with series of broadcasts

Rik Mayall was such a physical presence and scene-stealing whirlwind that radio might not seem to be an adequate avenue for his talents. Yet it did allow his comedic voice to come through loud and clear, possibly heightened in quality when it’s divorced…

Five things you might not know about . . . Count Arthur Strong

26 Feb 2015

Ex-music hall legend hits the road with Somebody Up There Licks Me

1 The man behind the pencil moustache, tweed jackets and prehistoric worldviews is one Steve Delaney. No relation, we think, to fellow comics such as the one-line gagmeister Gary or the American Catastrophe-starring Twitter sensation, Rob. This Delaney…

Focus

25 Feb 20152 stars

Vacuous, less-than-thrilling con artist flick starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie

It's been 22 years since Will Smith starred in Six Degrees of Separation, a wonderfully subtle adaptation of John Guare's play about a young con artist who takes in a well-to-do Manhattan couple. Watching Smith's new film Focus, his first lead since the…

Dylan Moran prepares for an Off the Hook tour

25 Feb 2015

The Edinburgh-based Irish comic gets down and dirty with technology

When it comes to the modern world, Dylan Moran is less curmudgeonly as Bernard Black, his most lauded fictional creation, but he remains on the sceptical side. ‘Technology is a thing we just have to deal with, but part of the problem it’s created is…