Noise Next Door
Dexter, Don't Fall in Love with Me
From his Radio 1 Christmas Spectacular, 2012
More Nick Helm videos
|Dexter, Don't Fall in Love with Me|
|I fancy the pants off of you|
|At Chortle's Fast Fringe|
|Lion's Den Comedy|
Radio 2 Comedy Spectacular For Children In Need
At the last minute, Radio 2’s annual Children In Need comedy gala moved from the 1,100-seat Shepherds Bush Empire to the 300-seat Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House – and still there were empty seats.
Quite why Londoners stayed away is a riddle, especially as the show prominently featured the Horne Section, who are currently enjoying a successful Saturday-night residency in the West End. Their handler, Alex Horne, hosted, while the expert band, led by preternaturally talented pianist Joe Stilgoe, improvised jingles and provided backing tracks for the comedians – either prepared or ad libbed – plus the odd ‘badoom-tish’ rim shot. It all gave proceedings a more relaxed, jazzier vibe than most comedy night, and befitted Radio 2’s musical remit.
After the ice-breaking game of audience Battleships which opens every Horne section gig came Jason Cook, who asked the band to provide a funky beat behind his storytelling, largely about defusing a late-night fight using only the power of Geordie. The music forces the stand-up into a different rhythm, which didn’t entirely suit this tale, but it washes over amiably.
Radio 2’s New Comedy Award winner Angela Barnes had a slightly wobbly start, as her gags about a friend’s static-caravan holiday home failed to land. However, she had more success when she talked about her own misfortune such as suffering from glue ear – an affliction that usually affects children, so is treated in paediatric units. As she wryly noted, this could make her one of the few Children In Need performers who could directly benefit fro the fundraiser.
Comedy rapper Doc Brown made full use of the band, as you might hope, accompanying his tongue-in-cheek rhyme in which he ascribes every misfortune that befalls him to racism. Better still was the self-defence rap Kick Him In The Balls, since its advice was delivered with such phoney machismo. Brown didn’t think it would make it past the BBC censors, but hopefully it will. With the right video, this has ‘viral hit’ written all over it.
Finally in the first half, Nick Helm, doing a rare swear-free set – though the brooding aggression and self-loathing was all still present and correct. This wreck of a man started with a dark, nightmarish tale with no apparent humour, until a great left-field payoff that, frankly, deserved more from the crowd. Then on through some audience intimidation, his four actual jokes, and his growled-out musical number I Fancy The Hell Out Of You - with impressive improvised backing from the Horne Section – in which he sounds like Chas N Dave after nine pints of Special Brew. Great stuff.
After the break, Gareth Richards was hit by technical problems, as his Eighties musical instrument, the Omnichord, failed to fire up. But the delay as BBC techies scrambled for an extension cord proved an unlikely godsend, as it allowed Richards to fire out some exquisitely eccentric one-liners before, problem solved, his affectionately silly song about his mate Dave and his resemblance to a fridge.
Miles Jupp has been away from stand-up being an actor for the past couple of month, so by his own admission is a little rusty. After a few self-deprecatory jibes about his poshness, he did seem to struggle to find his pace, although quips about Boris Johnson and a Scouse version of Monopoly invoked some sublime comic language. He hit his stride properly with his well-honed sarcasm-soaked routine on his bete noire of train travel. Just pity the poor editor who has to exorcise all the swearing before this makes it to air.
Two Episodes of Mash already have their own Radio 2 series, and the resolutely downbeat pair of Joe Wilkinson and Diane Morgan gave us half a dozen of their greatest hits here. They happily make light of their own failings – that sketches peter out with proper endings and sometimes go on too long, both of which are true. But there’s usually a strong gag at their heart, even if a couple of these seemed too visual for radio.
Joe Lycett won the audience’s affections with his charming yet childish camp, discussing his love of farts and and the gay dating iPhone app Grindr, which allows users to find like-minded souls nearby. However, relating his interactions, first with a Grindr user, and then with a viewer who sent hate mail following his appearance on TV, had diminishing returns.
Finally, a rare live appearance from Peter Serafinowicz, with a list of one-liners – or extracts from his deservedly popular Twitter feed, if you prefer – with the Horne Section rim-shotting every punchline. The quality was wildly inconsistent, but, my, the best gags were truly exceptional examples of tricksy wordplay.
You can hear for yourself, when the Radio 2 Comedy Spectacular goes out at 10pm on Saturday.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 15th Nov, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
Tuesday 30th Apr, '13- Brighton Komedia
Thursday 16th Aug, '12- Pleasance Dome
Monday 16th Jan, '12- Leicester De Montfort Hall
Thursday 11th Aug, '11-
Thursday 19th Aug, '10-
Thursday 19th Nov, '09- Bar FM
Saw him yesterday at the Dome. He wasn't all that funny. His timing was off (perhaps to do with a sore throat...). In any event, any appreciative audience must have a touch of masochism about them. There were some small gems, but the performance lacked polish and direction. To carry off that level of abuse of the audience, contrast in mood and content needs a lot more panache than Nick Helms displayed. Oh, and the band is lousy.
Just watched his fringe preview in edinburgh: unhinged, a bit like a breakdown in front of his father after years of pent-up hate, though with as much comedy if you did get to watch such a private self exposing moment. Moments of brilliance and real cheek burn. Some of the songs are priceless, others painful. Result: go see it and enjoy the rollercoaster, something different that once refined might just be a dream come true for unhinging comedy to find something new?
I saw him on Russell Howard and thought that it takes a lot for a comedian who nobody's hardly heard of to be so fearless of the audience. He is definitely something rare. I hope he gets the success he deserves
I saw Nick yesterday. The posted videos don't do him justice. He had the audience laughing or terrified the whole act. I laughed so hard I reached my laughter cap where I wish I could have laughed harder to assert my enjoyment but my lungs weren't strong enough. Really catchy, witty songs. Definitely would see him again.
I have to agree with the two comments above - I especially love the description of Nick as an 'angry care bear'. Saw Nick's show, 'Keep Hold of the Gold' the other week at the Fringe - it was one of the few shows where I laughed consistently from start to finish. OK, so maybe sometimes the laughter was tinged with fear, but with the kind of adrenalin-joy-terror you get from roller-coasters, and being chased in 'it' as a kid, so it was all good. The show rolls on the audience participation (needs a willing audience to work best - luckily the crowd were completely up for it). It rocks on Nick's songs, which are full of clever lines, great rhymes, and tunes that stuck in your head for weeks afterwards. I will definitely go see Nick again, and would recommend his show to anyone that likes funny.
Saw Nick @ The Stand in Glasgow. You feel like you have been attacked by a very scary Care Bear. Aggressively sweet and very very funny. 10/10
Angry, compelling, engaging, possibly slightly mental, but a genuine breath of fresh air amongst a sea of comedy clones. I'd pay to see him again, and I'd encourage others too.
|C4 pilots for rising comedy stars
Rubberbandits, Helm, Gittins and Dr Brown
08/11/2012 Permanent link
|And the 2011 nominees are...
Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award shortlist out
24/08/2011 Permanent link
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Acaster, Helm and Widdicombe - Live at The Vodoo Bar
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Big Value Comedy Show Early 
Nick Helm: Keep Hold of the Gold
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Nick Helm: Dare To Dream
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Nick Helm: This Means War
Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Nick Helm: One Man Mega Myth
The Wrestling II