Jay Richardson

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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…

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…

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…

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?…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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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: 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…

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…

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…

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The Rubberbandits

15 Nov 2011

The musical comedy pranksters are coming to Glasgow, and they've got a horse outside

Last year, they just missed out on the Christmas number one in their native Ireland, with the brilliant ‘Horse Outside’ notching over 8m views on YouTube (see below). And now gangster rap scamps The Rubberbandits are filming a series of online sketches…

Margaret Atwood - In Other Worlds

17 Oct 20113 stars

Slightly patchy collection of critical sci-fi essays

(Virago) A companion to Margaret Atwood’s published science fiction rather than an essential purchase in its own right, In Other Worlds charts the Canadian Booker Prize winner’s relationship with SF from an early age, bringing a welcome clarity and…

Interview: Comedian Vir Das at Edinburgh Festival

9 Aug 2011

Household name in India brings show Walking On Broken Das to Fringe

A Harvard graduate and gross-out film star, Vir Das is a household name in India. Jay Richardson met him on his home turf before he tests himself at the Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival comedy shows incorporating High Art

29 Jul 2011

Hannah Gadsby, The Horne Section, New Art Club and Vikki Stone

Sean Lock once likened media coverage of comedians to that of strippers, none too respectful of something that involved divesting so much. Despite comedy’s current boom, scrutiny still tends to focus on comics’ television careers or transgressions…

Frisky and Mannish interview - Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011

8 Jul 2011

Infectious pop parodies via the twisted side streets of camp cabaret

It has often been remarked that in times of recession, we all seek reassurance from flamboyant pop parody duos. Hence the buzz around Frisky and Mannish's creation for the 2011 Fringe, Pop Centre Plus, which after School of Pop and The College…

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Tom Green interview - Canadian comedian brings stand-up show to Edinburgh

6 Jul 2011

Shock humour actor from internet show and Freddy Got Fingered

When the bestiality-heavy, incest-evoking, gross-out cult Freddy Got Fingered won Worst Picture, Worst Actor, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst On-Screen Couple at the Golden Raspberry Awards, Tom Green became the first actor in history to…

David Reed: Shamblehouse

6 Jul 2011

Penny Dreadfuls' David Reed brings solo show to Edinburgh Fringe 2011

‘It’s not the best PR being called “the middle one”, is it? “The most castable one”? “The handsome one”, would you say? “The funny one” would be good, wouldn’t it?’ David Reed is giving his profile some thought. The Yorkshireman seems to have cynically…

Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!

6 Jul 2011

Penny Dreadfuls' Humphrey Ker solo show at Edinburgh Fringe 2011

With a title like Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!, you might imagine that his show is a Boche-bashing, Boy’s Own-style romp in which our hero takes on Hitler’s war machine. And you’d be right. But it’s also based on the real-life exploits…

Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD

6 Jul 2011

Penny Dreadfuls' Thom Tuck's 2011 Edinburgh show examines Disney sequels

Just as the emotional yearning of The Little Mermaid reinvigorated animated cinema on its release in 1989, Thom Tuck hopes his analysis of that movie’s follow-ups, plus various other Disney sequels, spin-offs and shameless House of Mouse cash-ins has a…

The best places for barbeques in Edinburgh and Glasgow

27 May 2011

Barbecue recipe alternatives to burgers and sausages

For the more discerning al fresco cooks and diners, here's The List's lowdown on how to spark up your barbecue summer.