Today’s comedian is Fern Brady. Fern is from a town called Bathgate, which is just outside of Edinburgh. Before getting into performing, she was a reviewer for Fest magazine which scrutinises shows during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. One of the things I have learnt is to never refer to the fringe as “Edinburgh” within the earshot of Scottish acts, as apparently Edinburgh is a city the whole year round and not just a month long pissup and bitchfest for comedians (and those sad strange physical threatre people you see lying down on the Royal Mile). The person who taught this to me was Fern Brady, as she mercilessly tortured another act for doing it. Fern did her first stand up as a challenge laid down by the paper, and since enjoying it, has done it loads more places around the country. She enjoys reading about serial killers, making fake accounts on dating websites and has a favourite dictator (Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan, in case you care, or want to try and woo her through a fake account on a dating website).
I’ll be honest, I’ve done sideways looks reviews about loads of good mates and at least 3 comedy heroes, and I wasn’t scared of the repercussions. But this one of Fern terrifies me. Fern is a terrifying person. I once wrote a blog about a gig I did with her, and I mentioned that she accused me of “deliberately grazing her in a gropey way with my chest” when I hugged her. Which I only mentioned because I didn’t, as I am terrified of all girls and especially Fern. Anyway, she saw this and shouted angry things at me til I removed it. She has powers. Scary powers. Some say that she has the power to make baby girls grow beards and get astigmatisms in their eyes so they need spectacles. Others say that she has the power to reduce grown bearded men to tears. It’s geniunely scary, like having one of those alabaster victorian dolls, but voiced by a female Sick Boy from Trainspotting.
Fern is doing the “moody french girl from a black and white new wave film” sideways look. The contrasting patterns of her jacket and top make it look a bit like a Magic Eye Picture from the mid 90’s, but if you stare deeply into it to see the picture beyond, she will come out of the screen and beat you to death for “deliberately grazing her in an ogly way with your eyes” .
Today’s comedian is Eddie French. Eddie lives in Leeds but is dead posh so probably comes from down south, or from Harrogate. Eddie does stand up, improv, writes and has the best quiff in comedy since Mark Lamarr retired. People in comedy love quiffs. It’s a little known fact but 12% of the sales of Dax is to people in comedy. Yeah, I could have gone for a more well know brand of hair wax, brylcreem for instance, but quiff purists will tell you Dax or get out.
By an amusing piece of cosmic symmetry, there is a French comedian called Eduarde Anglais. Just kidding. There are no French comedians. Some try, but they tend to die quickly, wreathed in Gauloise smoke and ennui, battered down by a long memory that they got from eating a cake, dying alone and unloved in a garret. Idiots. Either that or they’re not proper comedians, they’re mimes or that Comedia D’ellarte thing that upper middle class people pretend to like, just like they pretend to get the jokes in Shakespeare. “Actually I did know that coney was both an archaic term for both a rabbit and a vagina. So I got the delicious double meaning that he put in there, when you thought he was talking about rabbits but he was really taking about vaginas.”. Shut up. I could tell you didn’t really find it funny because you didn’t laugh, you did a weird “Ha-haarr” where the second ha was higher and extended. You sicken me.
Eddie has gone for the “holding the microphone like a tiny steering wheel whilst viciously sucking an electronic cigarette in a goggle eyed fury” sideways look. There is also a clear line of demarcation between his head and his neck, proving that he may not be a human being but is in fact a sentient mannequin, but one that has learned to talk and move and love, like that movie: Toy Soldiers. In conclusion, here is a picture I drew of eddie as “Fungus the rockabilly bogeyman”.
Today’s Comedian is Ben Van Der Velde. Sorry for the long delay in any new posts, sideways fans. But I had no work on, and if you’re not procrastinating on a pointless project, it’s something you’re doing because you enjoy it. Now, happily, there’s a pile of work on my desk that the very thought of tackling is giving me queasy stomach tremors, and loads of comedians are getting their shots done for Edinburgh, and so here we are.
Ben is from Newcastle and is a Jew. Is Jewish. Yeah, that’s better. “Ben is a jew”, despite being accurate, looks like some horrific grafitti, like i’ve not used the whole word. The Jews have a long tradition of humour, from Seinfeld, to Woody Allen, to Mort Sahl, to the original borsch belt comics, to music hall, to vaudeville, to that prank that got out of hand when they crucified our lord and saviour Jesus Christ. They all thought it was funny at the time. “Let’s vote for Barrabas. That’ll be a larf, or good for some yuks, or something”. Barrabas actually found being freed from jail to be the short sharp shock he needed, and he lived out his days selling glazed matzo balls to the people of Judea. From Galilee to Bethlehem, from Nazareth to a 4th place mentioned in the New Testament, he would wander round with his cart and his familiar cry “Try my matzos, delicious matzos. So good, they crucifiedGod’s actual child to keep them around. They’re everyone’s favourite ‘Saviour-y’ snack”.
Ben has gone for the “slightly tilted” sideways look, and the haircut of a King Charles. The actual kings, not the spaniels. He is doing two pointing fingers, but they’re somehow the wrong way up to be proper pointing. It kind of looks like how he would carry two imaginary shopping bags. But that would do him no good if some of Cromwell’s new Model army came through time and beheaded him, would it now? No, it wouldn’t.
Today’s comedian is Red Redmond. Red’s from Derby, but lives in manchester. Red Redmond is obviously a stage name. His real name is Rouge Rougemond. Red spend most of his life looking like a 12 year old dressed as a cartoon pirate. Apart from when he does his showstopping set peice where strips down to a black leotard, and then he looks like a 10 year old girl who hasn’t been picked up from a swimming lesson. I am not making this up.
Red found the leotard whilst on a clowning course. that he did on his media and performance degree. and he lives in Salford! I can only imagine the reason he’s so thin and energetic is that he’s constantly being chased by gangs of scallies trying to hurt him.
Red’s gone for the classic sideways look. Due to the cracks in the wall behind him, it does look slightly like he’s firing electricity from his eyes, which is possibly the reason he’s no longer bullied by scallies in Salford. He is also wearing a black and white scarf, because he is at heart a 16 year old emo girl. He’s wearing it with a tshirt, either because his neck was cold and his arms were warm, or because he’s a bellend.
Today’s comedian is Jim Smallman. Jim is from Hinckley in Leicestershire. He enjoys wrestling and has started his own wrestling league, but you know, properly, rather than just having guys in his garden doing moonsaults off the top of the birdfeeder. This is the only known photo of him without any of the ridiculous tattoos for which he is famous. Even his school photos from year three had macho man Randy Savage crudely dawbed on in biro. Jim has tattoos all over his body, including an arm sleeve full of female video game characters and Ron Burgundy where his bicep should be.
Jim once asked for suggestions on what tattoo to get next, and selected my suggestion of the TV test pattern of the girl playing noughts and crosses with a clown. He has yet to do this, which is a source of constant disappointment to me. Much like Jim was a constant source of disappointment to everyone when he was an alky, but now he’s straight-edge. I’m sure the little girl that couldn’t win at noughts and crosses against an inanimate object was a constant source of disappointment to her parents too.
Jim has gone for the “chin in hand, deep in thought” sideways look. This is to make him look all intellectual and ting. However, if I know Jim, he’s actually thinking about various skinny tattooed alternative models and the seedy things he’d like to do to them. The cheeky reprobate.
Today’s comedian is Matt Richardson. Matt is 20, from Didcot in Oxfordshire and claims to be the youngest professional comedian working on the circuit. Sickening, isn’t it? Course, back in the good old days you couldn’t go straight into stand up, you had to be in a lesbian sketch troop, or write angry punk poetry about native american treaties being broken or you wrote satirical songs for an oxbridge revue show in a basement in Edinburgh. Matt has cleverly skipped all that and has instead decided to devote the prime of his life to driving up and down the motorways of England in a poxy peugeot being stared at in weird little gigs and eating ginsters in a layby at 3 in the morning and crying in the breakfast nook of a B&B in South Shields because you can’t get onto their wifi. That’s what it’s like for everyone, isn’t it? It’s not for me. I have a Ford Focus.
Matt has also appeared on Tv, on one of those channels that everyone skips past during the day because they’re not showing Top Gear. But this was at night, where he was a man talking about one of the 10 best or 100 best or 100 worst of something. “Look, number 43: one of the sugababes strawpedoing a bottle of reef and then vomiting out of her nose on the One Show. We all remember where we were when that happened”. And they cut to Matt and he says something wry and amusing about that, even if he doesn’t remember the sugababes, being born in 1991 and all. 1991? sickening. And then they cut to one of those people who aren’t comedians, or even famous and then they say something that’s not wry or amusing, just to counterbalance it.
Matt is doing the “classic” sideways look, against a brick wall, which is of course the natural habitat of the comedian. This picture has more than a hint of someone dresing up for an evening of very kinky Jonathan Creek Cosplay. “A-ha. That thing that you though was my penis was actually a sock filled with trained ants, which distracted you from my penis stealing the priceless jewels from mrs Brevilton’s safe”.
You know. Reasons.
Removed for them. For reasons
Because of this, I am listening to hundred reasons. It feels like my last year of Sixth Form
Today’s comedian is Taylor Glenn. Despite having two first names, both of them men’s names, she is a woman. She was born that way and everything. Taylor is from America. I’m pretty sure she’s from the South, but that could just be me being rubbish at placing accents, and I am very aware half a continental landmass is hardly narrowing it down. Taylor now lives and works in the UK, and is married to a Welsh fellow with a proper Welsh name, like Rhodri or Gethin or something. This was enough for her to be accepted to (and win) the Welsh unsigned act of the year award. Have a little pity on all the other contestants, who realised they didn’t need to have been brought up under a perenially slate grey sky, being slowly eroded by drizzle and misery, only to lose to a foreigner.
Before starting comedy, Taylor was a psychiatrist, or a psychoanalyst, or psychologist, or possibly even a psychic investigator. It definitely began with “Psy.” You can imagine her, knee high in the boggy marshes or muggy everglades or possibly even the delta thingys, at a crime scene, touching a murder weapon and getting a flash of inspiration. “The killer wore blue espadrilles” she’d say, and the stern no-nonsense local sherriff would lower his mirrored shades a bit, and then give a look to his patrolmen. “Them Clarke boys in Tanner’s Hollow always were mighty proud of them blue espadrilles they allus were wearing. Bring ’em in”. The sheriff would have a moustache. The clarke boys would try and shoot their way out of their shack rather than be taken alive. I’m 85% of the way to a TV series here.
Taylor has gone for the “full length, on two phones, whilst a disembodied hand floats menacingly a groinal level” sideways look. It’s a little known fact of photography, but it’s very hard to make a normal living hand look like a disembodied hand. For this, Taylor needed an actual disembodied hand. She paid two 18th century corpse robbers a shiny sixpence each, and asked no questions where it, or indeed they, came from.
Toady’s comedian is Wil Hodgson. Wil is from Chippenham, a small town in Wiltshire. He was the winner of the Perrier Best Newcomer Award at the 2004 Edinburgh Festival, for his show “Straight outta Chippenham”. Since then he has not done any more shows named after classic rap albums, so we can only imagine what the shows “Wil-matic” “Snopp Hodgy Hodgson: Hodgystyle” or “It takes small Wiltshire town of just under thirty thousand to hold us back” would have been like.
Wil is noted for his love of many things. He collects vintage care bears, has tattoos of silver age Superman villains and 50’s pinup girls getting spanked on him, and does whole sets about My Little Pony. You might have noticed Wil is spelt with only one “L”. It may be that Wil is short for Wilbur, or Wilheilm, or possibly even Triumph of the Will. Wil is a hardline socialist so it would kinda make sense if he rebelled against his Dad who named him after a Leni Reifenstahl film.
Wil’s sideways look is going for the plaintive melancholia, but sort of looks like TV’s idea of a stoner, in that he’s staring transfixed at his hand. He’s wearing a sixties Batman TShirt, and actually has a tattoo of Catwoman, played by Lee Meriweather, even though Julie Newmar was a much hotter Catwoman and actually appeared in the series rather than the spin-off film. This is amongst the nerdiest things I’ve written on the internet.
Today’s Comedian is Tom Toal. Tom Toal comes from Bexleyheath, which is one of those towns either in or around London. If you are from one of those towns in or around London, and you try and explain to someone who’s not, expect our eyes to glaze over, as none of us care. Normally comedians from in or around London do hilarious jokes about the tube. “South Ruislip? that’s not Zone 5, that’s the bloody twilight zone” and then they flick their stupid hair around. Tom Toal also directed a fan made Superman movie, which is beyond awesome. I didn’t know you were allowed to do that. Apparently it’s legal, but they can’t make any money off it.
Thankfully, Tom Toal’s not one of those comedians. Tom Toal’s main gimmick is that he always refers to himself in the third person. Tom Toal realises this sets him apart from everyone else, and sometimes it takes an audience a while to catch on to what Tom Toal is doing, but Tom Toal knows it creates a lasting impression. Tom Toal also refers to himself as TT, T-squared, The old double T’s, TT Camara, t-t-t-t-t-T Unit, Audi TT, Thomas the Toal Engine, Tomse and Toalsibility, The Lone Ranger and his pal TomToal, I won a bottle of cream sherry in the village fete Tomtoala, Toala Bear, The M6 Toal moTomway, and of course, Biiiiig Papa Smurf.
Tom is doing a modified classic, with the face of a fun but no nonsense trainee teacher. He is putting out his hand for someone who is chewing (but has not brought enough to share with the whole class ) so they can spit their gum into it. Or, if he were a more whimsical comedian, putting his hand out so a songbird could alight on it, and they could do some lovely harmonies to the John Williams Superman theme, if they were allowed to use that which they probably aren’t due to copyright.