Dan Clark

Dan Clark

Date of birth: 03-07-1976

Best known for the BBC Three series How Not to Live Your Life, which he wrote and starred in as Don Danbury, Dan Clark’s first television appearance was in a December 1996 episode of Only Fools and Horses, playing a character called Scott.

The following year he formed the Electric Eel sketch group with Adam G Goodwin and Cliff Kelly, making their Edinburgh debut in 1998.

In 1999, the trio made a Comedy Lab pilot Channel Four entitled Roy Dance Is Dead, about a group of estate agents, which led to a full series – The Estate Agents – in 2002.

His other credits include The Mighty Boosh – where he played Johnny Two Hats – French & Saunders, My Family and the ITV comedy drama series The Complete Guide to Parenting.

How Not to Live Your Life started life as a series of shorts on the Paramount Comedy Channel, where he would act out lists such as ‘Ten things you shouldn't wear on a date’, which led to the BBC commission. A pilot was made in 2007; with the first full series airing in autumn 2008, and the second in autumn 2009. A third series has been commissioned for 2010.

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Dan Clark: These Songs May Contain Jokes

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Dan Clark is more popular than I – and presumably BBC Three commissioners – thought. Brighton’s Komedia is full of fans of his now axed sitcom How Not to Live Your Life, who all prove their devotion by yelling out suggestions in a segment of the tour show dedicated to songs from the telly.

For the few who haven’t seen it, he explains his TV character, Don Danbury, as a ‘loveable cock’. His stand-up persona is a lot less cockettish, but eminently likable; a trait that elevates his workmanlike comedy – all half-arsed cynicism on very familiar premises delivered with measured, unpassioned tones – into an entertaining night.

However, it’s the music that does most of that work. Clark toured last year with a stand-up show with songs as interludes, but here has advisedly thrown a full band at proceedings. They rock, all right, and fill the room with a feelgood energy far more exciting than the material. If the gags lack soul, this three-piece, fleetingly referred to as The Difficult Three, don’t.

They might like to be They Might Be Giants, but the lyrics are generally not quirky enough to place themselves in the finest company, with tracks about Simon Cowell possibly being gay or about how they want to kill Justin Bieber not high on inspiration, however well-executed.

With similarly limited horizons, Clark’s between-song banter cover American stars thanking God for their award wins, about how when he was a lad he didn’t have the internet and had to find porn in a discarded magazine in the woods, or about the embarrassment of using public toilets, part of a strong scatalogical thread throughout the night.

These are all go-to topics for so many comic newbies, but veterans such as himself should have found more distinctive fare by now. He messes up a gag about MySpace being passe with the crucial error of calling it Facebook by mistake – but we figure it out, since it’s such a well-known idea. But the gag’s a bit rich, since most of his premises far predate that near-defunct media.

His metrosexual, media lifestyle will not exactly resonate around the country, either, although it’s fine in cosmopolitan Brighton. He talks about googling attractive actresses from adverts to see if they have any mutual Facebook friends – likely in the Groucho Club, but probably not if you’re an Oldham minicab driver. Still, that section has a nice twist to deliver the chuckles.

Clark doesn’t have a particularly strong comic personality, but nonetheless has the charisma to rally the crowd. Combine that with the band, and the evening pulsates with life.

The best songs also demonstrate a flick more originality than the average; the beautiful rhythms of a Greek doctor's name are mined for all they are worth, and an R&B number cleverly morphs into a sex education lesson, making the facts of life funky. Call-and-response and audience clapalongs are joyfully entered into, spreading a party spirit that reaches a climax with Clark’s encore: a straight cover of Livin On A Prayer.

The upshot is that it’s impossible to dislike this upbeat show, but the writing needs a lot more inspiration if Clark is to claw his way into the upper leagues of musical comedians.

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Published: 2 Nov 2012

Electric Eel

They're a bit rock and roll, these three. They've have…
1/01/2009

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2002

Electric Eel


Edinburgh Fringe 2003

Dan Clark: 57 Minutes


Edinburgh Fringe 2005

Dan Clark: Erotic Neurotic


Edinburgh Fringe 2006

Dan Clark: The Day iLost My iPod


Edinburgh Fringe 2007

Dan Clark: Unfangled


Edinburgh Fringe 2011

Dan Clark: 3 Nights Only


Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Dan Clark: Me, My Selfie and I


Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Wow Wow Show! with Dan Clark


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