Noise Next Door
At Laughter Lounge, Dublin
More Nick Revell videos
Nick Revell started performing stand-up in 1980, and was a regular at the Comedy Store from 1982, performed at Jongleurs from the day it opened, and was nominated for the Perrier in 1987.
From 1985 to 1992 he recorded six series of the Million Pound Radio Show with Andy Hamilton, which was named best radio comedy at the British Comedy Awards, and he also had his own radio sitcom that ran for two series.
But in 1992 he quit the circuit to concentrate on writing - only to return in 2002, making his Edinburgh comeback with the show Bare Bones the following year.
During his haitus he wrote and performed two solo stage shows: The Ghost of John Belushi Flushed My Toilet in 1993 and Liberal Psychotic in 1995 – and wrote two novels: Night Of The Toxic Ostrich and House Of The Spirit Levels
No Pressure to Be Funny
How astute of them to put the ethos of the show in the title. Not every moment of No Pressure To Be Funny is indeed funny, but this topical panel-show format now entering its third year, still offers plenty of laughs.
The premise is that panelists – tonight Phill Jupitus, Andrew Maxwell, Wayne Deakin and journalist Miranda Sawyer – are given the latitude to talk around the subject, to go in depth if they need to without the need to land a gag every 20 seconds.
But being (mostly) comedians, they can’t help but crack wise, and there are very few moments when they plunge into any great depth – though they do lob in ideas that go beyond the superficial personal jibes against politicians that tend to be bread-and-butter of shows like this.
Indeed, in a reversal of many talk shows, one of the longest periods without a laugh is when host James O’Brien – a host on London phone-in radio station LBC – delivers a rather pained and obvious opening monologue. But not to worry, he comes alive with the cut-and-thrust of the discussion, just like his panelists.
Similarly comedian co-creator Alistair Barrie’s opening chunk, called Devil’s Advocate, is more a set-up for the topics to come, rather than being particularly chuckle-worthy in its own right. But then some of his topics, such as the fatal protests in Egypt, were never going to be the stuff of comedy.
Topics on the main menu today include the promised EU referendum, horse DNA in beefburgers, and the HS2 rail line. But adherence to the story in hand isn’t mandatory, and digressions that include Jupitus reminiscing about gigging in rural Ireland, or a conversation about squirrel syphilis, all go into the mix.
Unlike ‘straight’ political panel shows, there’s no need for balance, so the tone is of the broad centre-left consensus – only two people in the whole audience would identify themselves as eurosceptics, for example. But the plus side is that the discussions don’t become a left-right shouting match; which means fringe, or even dubious, ideas are allowed to ferment, in the hope of a joke coming at the end of it. And, indeed, several great mini-routines do emerge from the discussion.
There are also some set pieces. Nick Revell, who devised the format with Barrie, opens the second half with a strong piece of witty, polemical stand-up about the Gerard Scarfe Sunday Times cartoon labelled anti-Semitic because it stood against the Israeli state’s behaviour. And Pippa Evans’s psychotic alter-ego Loretta Maine expertly screeched a couple of amusing numbers in the name of variety, which might not have been in the news, but were topical ‘because it’s about what I’m feeling now’.
Of tonight’s team, Maxwell – a regular on Irish TV’s The Panel – was in his element; while Jupitus took the approach of making a quip for every occasion in the hope that some would stick, as indeed they did. As the non-comic Sawyer held her own; but Deakin, about to return to his native Australia, didn’t seem to be on top of the UK news brief enough to do more than lob in the odd gag, even if they were decent.
Despite its aim to be different, No Pressure To Be Funny – which is also aired as a podcast – is still rather like any other topical comedy panel show, and you can imagine producers, if they were so inclined, chopping the two-hour show into a jaunty half-hour in the mould of The News Quiz or Have I Got News For You. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, however, and this is still an entertaining evening out that sets its sights higher than the easy joke, and consequently generates some strong laughs from the interactions between smart comic minds.
|Date of live review: Monday 4th Feb, '13|
Review by Steve Bennett
Monday 28th Mar, '11- Glasgow Stand
Tuesday 23rd Nov, '10-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2008 -
Friday 20th Apr, '07-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2003 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2004 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2005 -
Completely disagree Mr Williams. Nick Revell is a fine performer and has been for many years, I've never seen him do a bad gig yet!
Absolutely terrible. From the start he had six people walk out and leave. The man died tonight. I was there with my girlfriend (as professional twentysomethings) and with our parents (educated 50 somethings - I'm guessing meant to be his primary audience) and none of us thought he was any good. He even dropped down to the lowest common denominated with a 'pedophile' joke, and even that wasn't funny. The biggest irony was this man bringing up class issues, trying to slate David Cameron and Nick Clegg when he is of the same socio-economic status as clegg and cameron. The man probably lives in Hampstead. That is the irony. He was performing in Crouch End and still died. Really really disapointing. I'm surprised at the people on here calling his political rants, 'sharp', as they weren't. Avoid.
One of the best acts on the circuit; insightful and clever but thankfully not above throwing in a bit of silly too - highly recommended!
Saw Nick again at the Other/Funny Side of Covent garden and was chuffed to see he's still an outstanding comic.
I saw Nick on 25th March 2009 in Pontardawe. He was excellent! His piece on the rivalry between his home Yorkshire town's youth and neighbouring town's youth was brilliant, exchanging philosophical insults. A masterpiece. It was clever and funny. He is politically acute, and has a great sense of rhythm when he delivers his observations on everyday situations. He handled the audience with wit and charm, especially when a young women had spent most of his set tapping her foot to the music she'd been listening to on her MP3 player. His gentle and polite rebuke had the audience on his side. I last heard Nick on his own radio show over 20 years ago, and was impressed then. If you have a chance to see him, take it!
Saw this guy again last night and he confirmed what I thought first time I tuned in to The Million Pound Radio Show over twenty years ago: namely, he has it all. And if there were any justice in this world he'd be a household name. Grabs your attention with snappy one-liners, holds you in the palm of his hand as he ranges from the sublime (religion) to the ridiculous (kebab-fuelled farts) through the just plain kookie (Brits as birds). Watch Nick and see how it's done. Or just watch him and laugh yerself stoopid.
Went down like a lead balloon at Greenwich last night, looking around the room hardly anyone laughing. More than one person shouted "Tell us a joke", shame really - maybe it was just a bad day for him.
Nick Revell took a few moments to find his comedy gears, but once he found his sweet spot he rocked the room. Effortlessly weaving in and out of different characters to embolden his flights of fantasy he soon has you in his world and you don't want to leave. With a strong stage presence this hardened pro knows how to work all areas of an audience and doesn't fall into the trap of focusing his energy into one spot. His section on reinterpreting the dawn chorus as comparable to a territorial lads night out for getting your leg over was inspired. He has a strong grip on on the language of northern aggression and when Nick reconstructs male northerners exchanging abuse over philosophical theories you are in no doubt you are in the presence of a powerful imagination. With the comic energy to wake up a morgue you get the feeling you could parachute this man in front of the most reluctant of audiences and he'll get them laughing, outstanding act, go see him.
Night Of The Toxic Ostrich
House Of The Spirit Levels
Nick Revel: Live At The Hackney Empire Theatre
Nick Revell: Bare Bones
Edinburgh Fringe 2004
Nick Revell: Like It Matters
Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Black Sheep: Road To Pisa
Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Nick Revell: Sleepless
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
No Pressure to Be Funny 2012
Misc live shows
No Pressure To Be Funny