Sean Hughes

The Old Fire Station

Carlisle

27th November

urlPerrier Comedy Award winner Sean Hughes approached the end of his Mumbo Jumbo tour as he visited The Old Fire Station Venue in Carlisle. His political satire combined with middle aged hindsight was fused with a humorous ad-lib candour delivered in what seemed to be an off the cuff comedic show. After just turning 50 Sean shares the wealth of his middle aged life experience with the middle aged audience where he discusses, “the kettle in the garden moments!” This is defined as the moment you are standing in the garden holding a kettle without an explanation of how you got there. The stand-up comic led the audience through a nostalgic trip of the sexual prowess of the 50 year old male by explaining that when a man is in his twenties he wants “fast sex against a skip.” However when you’re in your fifties you begin to look at life from a pragmatic perspective, “the skip looks cold, better wrap up” or “look at the microwave in there – I think it still works.” He tantalised the crowd by declaring, “At 50 my libido has gone, but I’m growing my own tits so it’s not all bad.”

Through the first half of the show he mocked the ailments and the miseries that become an ageing male whilst taking a sentimental stroll back to his youth by comparing the Bay City Rollers with One Direction. It’s not until we are nearing the end of the first half that we are introduced to the Sean’s Mumbo Jumbo philosophy.  The comedian defines Mumbo Jumbo as the battle one has between nonsense and common sense. It is the little voice inside of you that tells you to behave in a nonsensical manner. Sean explains by stating, “You wake up in the morning and your common sense tells you, have a cup of coffee and catch up on world events” but the Mumbo Jumbo inside says “drink the left over wine instead.” or touch the lamppost because it’s lucky. It’s the voice of unreason and illogic spontaneous behaviour.

As the first half closes the crowd is lively and in good spirits. However the second half of the show lacked the pace and laughs of the first half. As the show took a murkier twist the comic began using offensive and crude material based upon Rolf Harris, “Catholicism, Jesus and other mythical creatures.” Raised a Catholic – Sean was unrelentingly tasteless as he mocked how he had drank the life force of Christ and it tasted salty. An angry Catholic responded to the ill tasting humour by heckling the dumb struck comedian with an anti-Muslim slur. However Sean didn’t remain silent for long as he shushed the critic quickly with his antagonising wit whilst developing his tag line of the evening; “You people are really weird!” Despite the lull during the start of the second half, Hughes entertained the audience with laughs, poetry, life stories, music and his love of animals creating an amusing atmosphere within the intimate venue.

So what’s next for Sean Hughes? The writer, actor comedian will be guest starring in the Casualty Christmas special which airs in December – so tune in.

Material three-stars 
Delivery five-stars
Laughs five-stars

Reviewer : Katrina Hewgill

four-stars

Scottish Comedian of the Year

Spiegeltent

St Andrew’s Square

Edinburgh

28th November

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The highly anticipated Annual Scottish Comedy Awards, held in Edinburgh for the first time, brought together a selection of fresh comedic talent competing for not only the sought after title, but a launch-pad for possible world domination. The Spiegeltent in festive St Andrews Square blasted a bagpiping We Will Rock You as the full house settled in, drinks in hand, for an evening with the best amateur comedians hand-picked from across Scotland.

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The charming Highlander Chris Forbes kept the audience in high spirits throughout the evening, beginning with an introduction to the judges, who spelled-out criteria they would be looking for. Original material, style, stage presence, international appeal, transferable humour to appeal to all cultures and nationalities and likeability are key. Beyond this, they were looking for an ability to rise to the occasion, as this would be the largest crowd that most of the young talent had performed for. Could they rise to the occasion on this special night?

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Chistopher MacArthur Boyd

Comical competition is a ruthless arena, & of the eight performers, half of them struggled with the pressure of the event, some jokes were met with an awkward silence.  Stand-out performances included Christopher MacArthur Boyd, a young cross between Gok Wan and Ronnie Corbet, whose engaging, insightful, and intelligent material was very funny indeed. His delivery and fresh perspective engaged the audience as soon as he walked onto the stage and made him the front runner for 1st place. Another young performer, Gareth Waugh, rose to the occasion with fresh, accessible material delivered with witty, sharp, and engaging style. A comedian with a gift who will no doubt grow into his talent. The Spanish, tartan-clad “Camp Scottish Pimp” Jelly Bean Martinez injected much needed energy to the evening. With a whirlwind of frenetic silliness, his material became perhaps a bit too crude, and he may have lost his appeal by the end of the set. It was as if he was entertaining himself as opposed to being integrated with the audience.

At a competition such as this, with a panel of judges sat at the back of the room, it’s hard not to consider what makes great stand-up. Beyond the obvious criteria, there is a certain something, the X Factor. Whatever it is, the final comedian Daisy Earl had it. The young English lass had instant amiability and a natural stage presence, with raw talent and undeniable potential. She was down to earth and the material flowed effortlessly, providing a platform for the uncanny accents of several well drawn characters to shine. Daisy delivers very funny stuff, without the clichés so many female comedians fall into. This girl is going places.

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After brief backstage deliberation, the judges made their decision. Comedy Awards founder Alan Anderson came to the stage with the announcement, putting Gareth Waugh at 3rd place, Christopher MacArthur Boyd 2nd, and Daisy Earl at a well deserved 1st place. Daisy earned a £1000 prize, will be flown to Fringe Festivals in Adelaide and Perth, Australia, and will be showcased at next year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The prize is an amazing opportunity for this rising star to polish her craft on the international stage. On the whole, the calibre of talent was rather mixed, but ultimately it was a fair result which the audience agreed with.

Reviewer : Rachie Fradgley

Andy Hamilton : Change Management

Eden Court

Inverness

9 November

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Andy Hamilton is a prolific comedy writer and performer he has written for Theatre, Radio, TV and Film. He is a regular on TV panel shows and has also presented documentaries. In his new show he uses his observations of the changes he has seen affect him and other people to impart his philosophy on how to deal with life’s changes.

Opening with how he grew up in 1950’s East London and describing in the most humorous fashion the complete lack of health and safety culture that perhaps inhibits children growing up today. He went through the evening telling many hilarious stories from about getting in trouble for being recognised as Satan (who he plays in Old Harry’s game) to being sung at by Captain Kirk (on Have I got News for You) and being hit in the head with a dart.

His observational humour is amazing and he appears to be continuing to observe even during his performance. Throughout the evening he would check with the audience on what they had experienced themselves and as he told jokes he also had a running gag of writing down jokes that may not have got a huge laugh whilst loudly explaining them inevitably leading to the audience cracking up.  Both funny and fascinating Andy Hamilton’s humour is of the highest quality it should appeal to a wide range of people.  Andy is next taking his show to the Gardyne Theatre Dundee on Nov 12th and I would recommend this show very much.

Material four-stars
Delivery three-stars  
Laughs four-stars

Reviewer : Stewart Tonkin

four-stars

Gilded Balloon Comedy (November)

gb_logo2

Festival Studio Theatre, Edinburgh

7th November

MC : Scott Gibson
MC : Scott Gibson

Keara Murphy two-stars  Chris Forbes four-stars   Rob Rouse four-stars  

In recent months, the Gilded Balloon comedy nights have begun to dip their comedy wicks in Fife, & has seen their comedians’ weekends begin on a Wednesday. Thus, by the time they reach Edinburgh’s Festival studio on the Saturday, one of two things has happened. (A) : they have honed their routine to perfection; or (B) they have one hell of a hangover & have lost their golden touch. For tonight’s MC, Scott Gibson, it was clear;y a case of A, for the guy is a rip-roaring class act who warmed up the crowd nightly, getting us all familiar with the front row, which consisted of a group of mums on tour, & a couple of young sailors stationed in Edinburgh. The highlight of his wee sesh was going on about Tindog – the tinder for breeders, which set him off an a hilarious canine-comparison flounce ending in coco-pops being sprinkled in dog-poo, rendering it crunchier for the little mutts when they munch it.

KEARA MURPHY

two-stars

Material  two-stars   Delivery  two-stars  Laughs  three-stars

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For me, it seemed that Keara Murphy, a self-confessed lover of the booze, was more of the B category as stated above. The facade was there, a hard-living Weegie-bird who takes no prisoners, but it felt like she was just going through the paces. Her material was classic Glasgow-Edinburgh fare, & it seemed like she had been thrown into the mix to please any visitors to Scotland that were in the crowd – so the mums in the front row loved her. Likeable, but slightly annoying, her best stuff was her rendition of what really goes on inside another Weegie woman’s mind – Lorraine Kelly. This was genuinely hilarious & I think on another night she could have had us all eating out of her hand – but she just wasnt on it tonight.

CHRIS FORBES

four-stars

Material  three-stars Delivery five-stars Laughs  four-stars

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Chris Forbes, however, was completely different. A young comic on the rise, his delivery was bang on, coming with a nonchalant conversational manner full of quips & clever subtleties, all born from a clear genius in the craft. From a small town in the highlands, his arrival in the capital is a breath of fresh air, his hearth-side humour as refreshing as a walk beside Loch Tollaid. Way up north, with no proper football team for miles, he & his family are fans of the national team, & for me, wonderful expose on the world of the Tartan Army’s song-selection was the highlight of his set.

ROB ROUSE

four-stars

Material three-stars Delivery four-stars   Laughs four-stars

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When a comedy selection’s headliner uses the word ‘undercrackers’ you are know you’re in for a good do. Hailing from the Peak District, Rob Rouse & his soul-touching accent is a surreal spot of comedy emerald, who gives us a well warm window into the funny moments of his life. Blending amiability with theatrical virtuosity, Rouse is a real treat & his talented ‘truth-bombs’ were a perfect way to finish the night’s entertainment – although his brilliance definitely came on in waves with the occasional lag in momentum. His extended, gag-packed finale was the reportrayal of the time his 5-a-side football pal & doctor, Andy, gave him the finger… up the bum in a Prostrate-gland examination.

Reviewer : Damo Bullen

The Friday Show (Glasgow)

The Stand, Glasgow

9th October

Joe Heenen was the compere for the night’s line-up, and he launched straight into heckling the front rows, in particular a young woman whose out celebrating her birthday with her mates, ‘So, do you have a tight fanny then?’ Most women don’t mind getting the arse ripped out them if there is a reciprocal male genitalia slagging going on, but unfortunately the banter was a tad one-sided by Heenan’s continual harking back to said lady’s privates throughout all his appearances in between acts. Come on Joe, why go all passive-aggressive-stalker-psycho on her when there was much more fun to be had in the form of Haley, the History and Politics student who cited her favorite politician as David Cameron – a classic comedy moment of silence ensued while the entire room computes before reacting with expected jeers boos and grunts of disbelief.

Next up was the wild and crazy radgepot Fern Brady, who recently tweeted how she wants to do a parody of Showgirls, is an ex-review writer who chose who to review by how much she fancied them. Good review = good shag, totally works apparently. Sound principles indeed! Fern’s balshy attitude to Guardian Soulmates, ‘tinder for posh people’ was a great icebreaker. We also discovered that Fern was a target of Twitter hash-taggers, whose cruel comments led her on an insecurity-fueled search for  hand-reduction surgery… such self-depreciating humour is a strength she expertly exploits Hearing Fern’s tales of falling in love with the biological dad & other such neurotic delights was a pleasing contrast to Joe’s weak warm up, and her witty observances made me think of Lena Dunham of Tiny Furniture and Girls fame. Fern is fearless in her content and well worth tuning in to.

Next up was primary-teaching joke-slinger John McGoldrick, who lives in a house with a holocaust-survivor & a poet who never flushes the toilet. When they are not arguing about peeing over the dishes they go to west end poetry nights where everyone, ‘ drinks smoothies and are aff their tits on kale’ John’s a witty fellow, with his jokes delivered with a lively & novel, yet  well-rehearsed deadpan monologue. Good stuff.

imgresBy far the funniest act of the night, with their incredibly sharp ‘make it up as we go along’ routine were Stu Murphy and Garry Dobson.Their improv had the audience in stitches as they worked their way through the alphabet combining romance scenes, sci-fi, western & period drama genres. ‘Do you dispose upon yourself to speak to me?’ is equally as funny as the Speedy Gonzalan accent, ‘It’s not racist if it’s accurate.’

Highlight of the night was Ben Norris. A nostaligic anecdotal romp through childhood; with many a pop at Jimmy Saville en route. He also came out with a cracking one liner; who declared that he has three nine-year old children & ‘it was nightmare when they were 6.’

Norris also like a good ol’ sing-song, & his hunt-sab number , ‘Sticking up for Mr.Fox,’ sung in Billy Bragg style was highly entertaining. To this we must add many an canny observation of life in our techno-modern times with a dollop of audience interaction. Watching Norris = a sore jaw & I left in a jolly good mood, still chuff’d that at the Stand the phrase ‘never a dull moment;‘ is still guaranteed.

Reviewer : Clare Crines

Laughing Stock

Underbelly

August 2015

Laughing Stock

Someone had to be the last to be reviewed this Fringe, & I am happy to say that the age-old adage ‘save the best til last,’ still has kudos in the world, for the hour’s worth of irreverent sketcherie provided by these four bright ex-Oxfordians proved a perfect way to finish off mine, & the Mumble’s Fringe. They’re hot off the press these guys, gatecrashing the Camden & Brighton Fringes with their well funny show, K.I.S.S (Keep It Silly, Stupid), & in their own words, ‘fresh from storming London Sketchfest 2015,’ they launched an assault on the Edinburgh masses. By the time of this final show, word must have got out that they were well funny, like, as the room was almost full.

Laughing Stock are yin-yanged to perfection, two lads & two lasses who share a deft chemistry when relaying their comedy gems. A series of sketches are played out before us, which sometimes subtly interconnect, showing that these guys come from ‘the clever place’ down Oxford. They roll with the punch as well, for only a month before their debut performance at Edinburgh, one of the lads – Lewis Doherty – ruptured his achilles tendon while rehearsing. Soldiering on, the lad now does most of his show on a wheelchair, with the occasional standy-uppy bit, a heroic effort that managed to take nothing away from the comedy flow; & even added at times, especially when he played the Darren, an ale-swigging, cheeky-as-fu@k, northern monkey.

Lewis Doherty, Rhys Bevan, Arabella Gibbons, Phoebe Higson
Lewis Doherty, Rhys Bevan, Arabella Gibbons, Phoebe Higson

Lewis is joined on stage by Rhys Bevan, Phoebe Higson &  Arabella Gibbons, the latter of whom is a talented singer-songwriter in her own right. The fact that Phoebe isn’t quite as talented in this particular field (though her comic talent is supremely brilliant) provides a wonderful juxtaposition in one sketch, when Arabella hustles in on Phoebe at a busking session. Funny stuff indeed, but for me the highlights of the show were a brilliant Downton Abbey-esque scene, when Arabella brings her latest boyfriend back to meet the folks, & the sing-a-long-an-ending where the foursome meld into the rap-happy ‘Snack-Pack,’ to jolt us all into a jolly good time. An effortless FIVE STARS.

five-stars

Reviewer : Damo Bullen

Fringepig : Missile Warning

imagesIts been a great August for the Mumble this year – but it just wouldn’t be the same without vitriolic nobheads FRINGEPIG having their annual pop at comedy reviewers. They’ve already singled out one of Divine’s reviews for ‘that-review-was-pants‘ accolade (the Ham Fist Award), & now the latest member of their team, Barrie Morgan, is about to write an article damning us & everything we stand for – I tried to tell him the Mumble’s like an epic poem, attempting to record the cultural zeitgeist of our times, but he’s like THATS JUST NOT HOW IT WORKS!’ He also told us why the folk at Fringepig are so damn angry…

*****

I think this is because they are ex-comedians who had amateurs review them. I’d also like to include most of that paragraph in which you slag off FringePig in the article. Again, I’ll send you the finished piece to check before i submit it to Kipper.

*****
In my eyes there is no such thing as an ‘amateur’ reviewer. Laughter is the most natural thing in the world, & if you’re eloquent enough to describe the acquisition or non-acquisition of said happy state, you are perfectly entitled to be called a comedy reviewer. Some, albeit, are less eloquent than others, & we here at the Mumble have a certain quality control as to who goes out in the field – but one thing we don’t do is tell them what they can or cannot laugh at. It is upon this point that the Fringepig posse have such trouble dealing with reality… they’re like, ‘we’re comedians, we know whats funny, so if you don’t get us then you aren’t entitled to write about us!’
*
Its quite sad really… but kinda quaint… so as soon Mr Morgan’s article is up we shall add it in full to this post. He has been interviewing me this morning & I’ve fed him a load of crap, so it should be funny to see how it turns oot.
****
url
****
THE INEVITABLE CONCLUSION
Here’s how it panned oot after heading Barrie off at the pass…
*
Barrie

You spelt knobheads wrong.

Also, as a freelance journalist I may take this story elsewhere.

Me

Hurry up buggarlugs & write it – im going out in a bit – id like to get it up on mumble comedy before the afternoon

Barrie

Nah

Me

1-0 Mumble

A Brief Note on the Spelling of Nobhead A few folk attacking the Mumble recently have said to me that knobhead is the correct spelling of nobhead, however, that implies I am comparing them to a door knob, when I am in fact comparing them to a penis 

*

Divine DJ-ing at Audio Soup Festival
Divine DJ-ing at Audio Soup Festival

Divine’s Retort :

The Fringe Pig Are Irrelevant!

The Mumble Grows

While The Fringe Pig Stagnates

Waiting for The Flames To Be Hot enough

For The Spit. And A Hog Roast.

I Think Its Vitriol For Supper.

Oink Oink!

Another Mumbler’s Opinion

These guys are obviously fucktards of the first order… Criticism of critics is usually reserved for the artists who actually produce something.  Which is thankfully what all Mumble writers do in other fields.  What have these folk produced? Noms De Guerre not-withstanding.  I repeat: Fucktards.

AND THE WINNER WAS

(Not Divine)

The aforementioned 'Fucktards'
The aforementioned ‘Fucktards’

The Wee Man Syndrome

Mash House

Aug 26-29

19:00

****

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*

The Wee Man – aka Neil Bratchpiece – is an institution on many levels… an internet sensation for his brilliant videos,  a three-times a day buckfast buyer down his local offy in glasgow, & perennial source of laughter at the Edinburgh fringe. A middle-class Motherwell Weegie, he dons the Thalian mask of ned-dom with brilliant ease, so much so that folk from Paisley think he’s one of them in the same way that Detroit’s black hip-hop-cracy doted on Eminem.  I am definitely a fan of his work, & was well chuffed when his new show began with the following new video.

Watching this year’s show was a bit like watching ‘This is Your Life’ – an eight year retrospective through the life & times of the Wee Man. A slender fellow, who describes himself as ‘built like a silver rizla,‘ his use of recorded film is pure genius, especially when we see him fending off  his own creation in the most ‘kafkaesque’ fashion, battle-rapping him back into the recesses of his over-fertile mind. Splashing bits of his old shows into the mix, throughout the Syndrome we also saw Neil’s earliest attempts at fame, when he appeared on episode 21 of series 3’s seminal Scottish kiddy quizshow, Red, Amber, Green.

At the end of the show I’m like to myself, is this the end of the Wee Man – is this retrospective a sign Mr Bratchpiece is about to hang his chavvy outfit in the wardrobe. Or is it a grand shedding of the skin out of which a shinier, fresher, even more satirically cutting Wee Man will emerge? Only time will tell, but one things for sure, he’s still as funny as fu@k! FOUR STARS

****

four-stars

Reviewer : Damo Bullen

Chris Betts

Pleasance Courtyard
5-16, 18-30
21.45

chris_betts

“Any man who doesn’t give girls orgasms 100% of the time needs to watch a professional fuck his girlfriend”. It’s said more as a statement rather than as a punchline, but I laughed anyway because I wanted to be seen by the audience as someone who agrees- someone who does give girls orgasms 100% of the time. Chris Betts’ stand-up comedy seems to be, although not intentionally, an investigation of what it means to be a man. The very muscular welsh rugby man next to me agreed the fuck out of Chris Betts, but there was something about his comedy that never really struck a chord with me. “If I ran a bar, I’d make fighting legal”. That’s probably why.

His material is amusing but never truly engages. The show is mostly a string of memories and opinions of his time as a bartender up in Canada. Stories of hen parties and stag dos united audience in horror, and sometimes even in laughter. Yet the inbetween phases are slightly lacking. “Sometimes at the bar I did impressions just to make the time pass”. Chris Betts then does some impressions, and the time does indeed pass. However, I would have liked some more structure and build up to his performance.

Hiding behind his beard, Chris Betts actually comes off as slightly shy despite his aggressively masculine politics. Although he might thrive amongst the like-minded, he never brought any real energy to the foreign land of Edinberg. It’s a shame, for some of his jokes weren’t half bad. There was never any material which broke the mould, or anything that was built up to a truly satisfying climax. But Betts’ intentional insouciance left a very mild-mannered impression on an audience.

It feels like an hour of small talk- sometimes amusing, with a diverting anecdote every so often, or a fun fact. Yet controversial opinions are thrown in to fight for attention rather than anything interesting. Chris Bettes does have potential, and maybe I just caught him in a quiet mood. I did like this hour of stand up, but it never accomplished as much as I felt others do. TWO STARS

**

two-stars

Reviewer : Robert Stevens