Addy Van Der Borgh
An Audience With Peter
Angie Le Mar
Anthony J Brown
Alan Carr on The Graham Norton Show
BBC Two, November 2008
More Alan Carr videos
|Alan Carr on The Graham Norton Show|
|Alan exposes himself|
|Alan Carr on Des & Mel|
Alan Carr, the son of football manager Graham was born in Weymouth and grew up in Northampton and Blackpool.
He studied drama and theatre studies at Middlesex University, after which he took on a series of dead-end jobs, from toilet cleaner to call-centre worker, before turning his hand to stand-up.
In 2001, he won the BBC New Comedy Award and the following year made his solo Edinburgh debut, returning in 2003 and 2005, where he came to the attention of Channel 4 executives looking for new presenters for The Friday Night project.
He has co-hosted the show (which later moved to Sundays) with Justin Lee Collins since 2006, and in 2008 landed his own Channel 4 game show, Alan Carr’s Celebrity Ding Dong.
He has also appeared on BBC One's Live At The Apollo, and was in the line up for the 2005 Royal Variety Performance. Guest appearances include FAQ U, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Countdown's dictionary corner and Never Mind The Buzzcocks
In 2007, he embarked on a major UK tour, Tooth Fairy Live, the DVD of which was a Christmas bestseller; and in 2008 his autobiography Look Who It Is! was published by HarperCollins.
Described as 'the spiritual son of Frankie Howerd, Carr was named best live stand-up at the 2007 British Comedy Awards and best comedy entertainment performer the following year. He was named circuit comic of the year in the 2005 North West Comedy Awards and nominated for best theatre tour in the 2008 Chortle awards.
Brighton Comedy Festival 2010 gala
As far as pulling power goes, you couldn’t have assembled a much more high-profile bill to launch the Brighton Comedy Festival than this, with the BBC’s favourite comedian Michael McIntyre headlining a night compered by Channel 4’s favourite one, Alan Carr. In such stellar company, fine acts such as Tommy Tiernan or Simon Evans are reduced to mere filler.
The big guns both know a media phenomenon when they spot one, too, with both getting laughs from mere mention of X-Factor’s Gamu. Carr is rather better on low culture, though, as he feels like a natural follower of such talent-show drama, even if only as a fuel for his arch sarcasm. His own failings are mocked with distain, too, even in something as relatively straightforward as describing drunken behaviour, the innate wir shine through.
There’s not much in the way of finely crafted material on show tonight nor as host was there much call for it. But Carr is proof positive that it’s not what you say, but the way that you say it, uniting the audience in his catty indiscretion.
McIntrye – greeted, as you might expect, with deafening applause – typically sought laughs in the everyday: spectacles, mouldy bread, Activia yoghurt. He sometimes falls foul of that familiar criticism that he’s saying the blindingly obvious without much spin: there’s surely no more comic mileage that can be wrung from personal injury lawyers adverts, while the disingenuity of those Windows 7 campaigns that suggest stealth internet browsing is for anything other than porn is so apparent it barely needs mentioning.
But when he articulates things that are universally true, but largely unobserved, that’s where he shines, bringing each topic to life with skilful and robust technique. Even though everyone is now so aware of his over-dramatic tics and tricks, they are almost self-parody, such delivery does sell this hard-to-execute observational comedy effectively.
Even so, McIntrye, like any comic, is still more interesting when talking from unique personal experience such as telling bedtime stories on CBeebies rather than seeking to push the buttons of widespread recognition, even though that’s his forte.
The evening started with another comic who trades on ‘relateablity’, local lad Seann Walsh. His persona is more of a shambles… a lazy, frequently drunk video gamer wrestling with the world. But everyone’s found themselves in similar embarrassing situations he so evocatively describes, and the result is a steadfastly enjoyable set. His impersonation of the murmur of voices in another room when you’re trying to sleep – a new addition to his set – is particularly strong.
Another much-tipped up-and-comer, Andi Osho, similarly sought laughs in the familiar. Even if her Nigerian family background gives it a slight spin, her childhood anecdotes about everything from tearfully coming off your bike to parents doling out an intimidating telling-off will resonate with most people. She’s sometimes guilty of playing things a little safe – especially when her a charming presence could be used to push slightly more interesting material – but as an enticing teaser to draw people to her assured debut solo show later in the festival, job done.
Phil Nichol’s 20-minute set is an irresistible tsunami of manic energy, rampaging across the stage as a demented hillbilly, T-shirt over his head and exposing a Grand Canyon of builder’s cleavage, before zipping into a cacophony of other accents, from the granite-hard Glaswegian to the sing-song threats of a Cockney geezer. Even though it’s well-practised, the routine never loses its element of unpredictable danger. While its intensity and ferocity mock-terrorises an intimate club, it isn’t diminished in a room the size of this 2,000-seat Dome. The song which concludes his set, You Can’t Say That To Me, is a tongue-in-cheek reactionary riposte to political correctness… but even liberal Brighton is won over by its force.
One of the few people who could is Irish powerhouse Tommy Tiernan, who brilliantly encapsulated the dramatic change in tone with the off-the-cuff comment that his set would be ‘like trying to read a book after being on a roller-coaster’. But Tiernan is intense, too, in thought as well as delivery. Here he mused on appropriate sexual behaviour for a man of his fortysomething years, the pointless mass of showbiz trivia occupying his brain and the pitfalls of taking a seven-year-old to a football match. A largely controversy and fury-free set for a man whose mouth often lands him in trouble, but none the less gripping for it. He’s a comic who knows his own mind… and, better yet, knows how to express it with fine comic eloquence.
After the interval, the magnificent Simon Evans deigned us with his aloof presence and precise, sardonic wit, dripping distain from every perfectly pronounced word. And what words… his haughty vocabulary perfectly emphasising such a perfectly smug, high-status position you’d think him worthy of leading the Conservative Party. An appearance on Mr McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and a well-received and long–overdue return to Edinburgh this summer seem to have given this circuit stalwart fresh impetus, and his sharp, acidic barbs remain a rich delight.
Neil Delamere has struggled to make the impact in the UK that he has in his native Ireland, where he’s a TV regular. Tonight he mined his national stereotype with entertaining tales of drunken misdeeds – whether his own or other people’s – which certainly stuck a chord. He starts off with a few one-liners; but the extended yarn is more his style, enlivened with a deft turn of phrase. The callback in his ‘swimming with dolphins’ tale is particularly nicely done. He perhaps lacks that killer edge to make him stand out on an A-list bill like tonight, but Delamare remains pleasurably witty.
Jason Cook also found it tricky to get the audience to explode in laughter at first, perhaps a side effect of his placement so late in a long bill. But the room was never less than engaged with his personal stories, told as if he was betraying marital confidence as he regaled us with details of how he and his wife are trying for a baby, often a lot less romantic than it sounds. But by the end of the set such droll and honest material had won the room over, and he, too, will have picked up a few more fans tonight.
It’ll all help shift tickets for the next couple of weeks of shows at the festival, a veritable ‘best of’ collection for the most acclaimed shows from Edinburgh, combined with some big-name tours and the odd local offering. Visit brightoncomedyfestival.com for all the details.
|Date of live review: Monday 11th Oct, '10|
Review by Steve Bennett
Sunday 7th Oct, '12- Brighton Dome
Monday 12th Sep, '11- Brighton Centre
Wednesday 25th May, '11- O2 Arena
Tuesday 1st Mar, '05-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2002 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2003 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2005 -
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Misc live shows -
Morrissey said he was a fan of Alan Carr on Russell Brand's show on Saturday night. Thats quite wrong.
Thank god, a comedian who shows up this website and its reviews for the pointless waste of time they truly are. Well done Alan, you have a superb natural talent and I'm sure you are laughing as much as your audiences do!
Alan is absolutely suberb, I just love him, he is hilarious - I have seen him a few times and never been disappointed
He's fantastic. Love him love him - keep up the good work
Saw Alan in Port Talbot this evening and he was awesome.
He's OK. I didn't find him especially funny; though I think many people find his act of ultra camp delivery, hammy bitchiness along with the facial mannerisms and escalating hysteria over the trival, funny in itself. But really its a prop for average material.
Alan Carr is fantastic - he doesn't have to say anything at all; just his face is enough. But I don't mean that in a horrid way. He gives value for money and for a comic this is a good appraisal. He deserves his success.
Saw him in Cardiff last night and was great. Naturally just a funny guy. Don't know what the comment underneath is on about
Alan Carr: Spexy Beast Live
Channel 4's Comedy Gala
Alan Carr's Now That's What I Call A Ding Dong
Alan Carr: Look Who It Is!
Alan Carr: Tooth Fairy Live
BBC New Comedy Awards Final
Edinburgh Fringe 2002
Alan Carr: Me 'ead's Spinnin'
Edinburgh Fringe 2003
I Love Alan Carr
Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Alan Carr And Friends At The Fringe
Comedy Gala 2007
Misc live shows
Brighton Comedy Festival 2010 opening gala
Channel 4 Comedy Gala 2011
Comedy Store's 30th Anniversary Charity Gala
Secret Policeman's Ball 2008
Alan Carr: Spexy Beast Tour