It was great fun, as ever. The major highlights were:
Joe Morpurgo, with a premise that he was on Desert Island Discs- involving much editing magic with Kirsty Young's voice- and bringing on terrible old records (playing the parts of all the artistes) while revealing the story of the lost love of his life.
Tom Neenan- playing all the characters in a thrilling tale of scientists and aliens; the suspension of disbelief aided by a whizzy set (a chair and a table.) (Some lovely bits of subverting expectations; the assistant becomes slightly overwrought so the doctor makes face-slapping motions- and asks if the breeze is helping.)
Tom Parry- an utterly joyous set, I think my favourite one of the weekend. He's got so bloody much energy, and just creates a really friendly vibe, and basically the whole audience adored him from the moment he came on as Kelly Jones (from the Stereophonics. He was a bit taken aback that quite a lot of the people didn't recognise him, but still did ten minutes bouncing around with a Welsh accent) to the standing ovation at the end. Structured by giving audience members bits of paper- "jokes", "thoughts" ("sort of things that aren't funny enough to be jokes") and "fancy dress", so he could berate the one with the "jokes" paper for reading them out in the wrong order because the one at the end is a very poor one to end a show with… It's sort of about fancy dress (costumes to Americans) and how it can make you live longer, and just generally living your life with gusto. And he did the gills gag and then changed all his clothes on stage. I want to see this again, but the Edinburgh spreadsheet is already creaking and groaning!
James Acaster, on jury duty, hating people, and missing being a Christian, with some brilliant furious repositioning of the stool and mike stand so they were JUST RIGHT, and moving them again and again as he got more agitated.
Pappy's Secret Dudes show at the end; I think my sexuality may have been permanently dented, first by Ben Clark in a cheerleader's skirt (yes please) then by Matthew Crosby in tiny shorts with a bollock hanging out (NO THANKS). Many high-energy songs and ridiculousness, the Dalai Lama tap-dancing, and the same-movements-three-different-soundtrac
Also very good:
Stuart Laws, with a through bowling metaphor, and a very nice bit about not letting people know when you're about to get off the train ("These people who stand up and get ready for the stop. Amateurs. I spread out, get out two books… fling it all out the doors at the last second.") (I think he was also the one who talked about the audiences at a comedy festival, and how they're both good- because they actually want to see comedy, not have something in the background while they get hammered- and also bloody annoying connoisseur types, who don't laugh so much as go "Ah yes, I can really see the potential there.")
Lazy Susan- sketches with a dynamic business leader and her would-be disciples, troubled Australian youths, and a cowboy and his creepy, creepy dog.
Aisling Bea, on growing up in Ireland fixated with American TV.
Some strangely recurring themes: coerced standing ovations, Desert Island Discs, arseholes.
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