Paul B Edwards
Paul F Taylor
Paul Harry Allen
Paul T Eyres
Peter Buckley Hill
Peter von Natzmer
Piff The Magic Dragon
Priorite A Gauche
Preview his 2012 Leicester Comedy Festival
What's it's like being a gay, Asian doctor, comedian and quizzer?
More Paul Sinha videos
|Preview his 2012 Leicester Comedy Festival|
|Stewart Lee presents...|
|At Glasgow Comedy Festival 2009|
|BBC Asian Network Presents... Paul Sinha|
|Paul Sinha in the Chat Room|
Nominated for the 2006 if.comeddie award, and nominated for best breakthrough act at the 2007 Chortle Awards.
The Establishment Club
Hillsborough, Levenson, MPs’ expenses – trust is failing in the institutional pillars of British society. But never fear, Keith Allen has a solution for the cancer at the heart of public life…
…a Soho private members club for all his media pals.
It might be a cockeyed idea of revolution, but the spin-off is that he’s chosen to model it on The Establishment – Peter Cook’s groundbreaking, if short-lived, satirical club of the Sixties that predated the modern stand-up scene by decades.
And we shouldn’t get too precious about the aims: Cook was rather more keen on getting pissed with his cliquey chums than bringing down the government he mocked.
Allen might be Cook’s successor in the hedonistic stakes, if not the comic genius one. Nonetheless, his vision of challenging the status quo extends to comedy. In the manifesto he outlines tonight, he proposes an alternative to the career-minded ‘nice lads mentioning things’ brand of stand-up that so dominates TV.
It’s not an original idea. Anyone who follows live comedy will be aware of the growing schism between that style and a more creative, alternative approach – as evidenced by the eclectic shortlist of this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award.
Still, these two late-night shows in Ronnie Scott’s prestigious jazz club make a statement of intent: that a revived Establishment club, with the blessing of Cook’s widow Lin, wants to be as classy and glamorous as the original.
Allen is by no means a natural compere. He forgets names, inflicts unfunny songs on the audience and tends to ramble, and his material tends to be more nasty than edgy. Yet it works, in a strange kind of way: he antagonises the room in a way that encourages sharp heckles, and binds everyone together, us against him. And he rolls with the flow, insulting those who interrupt but without any real venom.
First up, Paul Sinha epitomised the sort of comedian the club should be seeking out: thoughtful, political and with no shortage of smart, knowing punchlines. He needs the audience to listen, but rewards them with richer laughs as he unfurls his many-stranded narrative about meeting the two-faced Jim Davidson that manages to score points while remaining self-effacing about his own intellectual and emotional shortcomings.
He was followed by Ophelia Bitz, a fairly typical bawdy cabaret act, singing lascivious lyrics with gusto, even if they’re hardly the peak of wit: ‘There’s nothing shocking about rimming or docking,’ goes a typical line in a song about accepting sexual practices. This might have been scandalous in the original Establishment days, but now seems an insipid list of rude words she knows.
Bitz was introduced as a pornographer, and indeed her set included an X-rated compilation from her sizeable collection of pre-VHS erotica. The muted reaction to an unsolicited montage of muffdiving, said it all: we’re neither offended, nor particularly care for it. What does a girl have to do to get a shock reaction these days?
Talking of rhetorical questions: What cabaret night is complete without an appearance by a former British ambassador? Craig Murray, our former man in Uzbekistan, fulfilled the political agenda of the night in his discussion with Allen. Murray did fine work in whistle-blowing about the torture and extraordinary rendition that happened on his patch, even if he left the embassy under a cloud of allegations he’d granted visas for sexual favours.
Conspiracy, he cries – it’s the same way that Julian Assange was accused of rape, to smear his reputation and open the door to him being taken to America. Some of Murray’s claims could have been challenged more by the fawning Allen – but the raising of questions, whether founded or not, adds a unusual and interesting edge to the night.
From that to an incredible blast of charismatic, passionate and energetic retro-rock. The mod-like Strypes, from Cavan in Ireland sing like The Beatles and thrash their guitars like The Who, whose My Generation they covered with a compelling, raunchy vigour to match the original. The stand-out stars of the night, they have all that’s needed to be playing stadiums within five years. Oh, it should probably be mentioned that they are still just 14. Sublime stuff.
The same adjective could be applied to the mesmerising Dickie Beau, though his style could hardly be more different. He takes to the stage in whiteface makeup, and vivid red-pigtails to match his Dorothy dress, before miming to an incredibly intense interview given by Judy Garland, in which she leaps between defiance, self-pity and drunken ramblings about the insignificance of other people. It’s a compelling tape, made into art by Beau, who jerks and jolts around the stage as if a marionette controlled by an unseen hand. How very symbolic. It’s an astonishing bit of cabaret – and a crime that the Allen neglected to properly introduce this awesome piece. So that name again: Dickie Beau.
Comic Lee Kern then came to the stage with his PowerPoint presentation of sarcastic tweets he’s sent in reply to celebrities’ vacuous updates. It doesn’t sound an amazing idea, and indeed occasionally got stuck into a rut of snide sniping. Yet he also has enough flourishes – such as his escapades in ex-cage-fighter Alex Reid’s chatrooms – to elevate it above the premise.
Finally, the provocative Scott Capurro, comedy’s answer to The Innocence Of Muslims. He likes the frisson he creates, he says, as he purses out bitterly unpleasant things about Mohammed, the Chinese, women, his own family and just about every group you can imagine. There’s certainly nervous laughter at this, mixed with the gasps and the occasional guilty guffaws. It’s naughty and by no means nice, and far from easy listening – and certainly not the sort of stuff that you’d hear on those panel shows, at least not since Frankie Boyle left Mock The Week. Yet if such uncompromising defiance in the face of an audience that don’t quite know what to make of him isn’t in the spirit of the Establishment, I don’t know what is.
|Date of live review: Friday 21st Sep, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
Friday 20th Jan, '12- Kings Place
Wednesday 10th Aug, '11-
Thursday 12th Aug, '10-
Paul Sinha: 39 Years of Solitude - Fringe 2009
Saturday 8th Aug, '09-
Monday 14th Jul, '08-
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2007 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2004 -
Paul Sinha: Saint or Sinha?
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Paul appeared at Giggle Aid IV in Sheffield to raise money for the work of the British Red Cross - so already he's a legend. But his 30 minutes were brilliant. Paul absolutely smashed it. He went down an absolute storm and everyobody loved him. Clever, superbly structured, side-splittingly funny. And his final five minutes were something else. I have no hesitation whatsover in recommending anyone to do whatever it takes to see Paul in person. Brilliant.
U saw him at the Arc theatre in Trowbridge for my wife's birthday. We all had fun and the the kiss at the end was the best of the night - thanks, Paul
I saw him at Earlsfield and he was hurt your ribs funny.
Paul's material is well-structured, intelligent and funny, and he's a very likable guy. A great headliner.
I saw Paul this weekend and his superb measured rant about the stupidity of modern life was a wonderful performance.
Saw paul on Comedy Central on Saturday Night 02/01/10. New material razor sharp. Also one gag on the Now Show day before. A treat.
Seen Paul many times and a massive fan. Just done four gigs for me over the weekend and was an absolute star at all of them, well loved by acts and audience alike, as many have said on here he deserves to be better known than he is. Keep up the good work Paul
Although I often crave more punchlines, Sinha is a great antidote to the breazy material floating around on the circuit. He has real opinions and real experiences. Though, dealing with my critiscism, when there is a punchline it is razor-sharp and intelligent. The man is underrated on the circuit - always a joy to watch and definitely deserved the Perrier nomination in '06. Great.
|Guess what? Some gay audiences are great...
Paul Sinha rebuts claims it's all about drag queens and glitter
09/02/2010 Permanent link
Paul Sinha: Aspects of Love, Actually
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Paul Sinha: Saint or Sinha?
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Paul Sinha: King Of The World
Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Paul Sinha: 39 Years Of Solitude
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Chortle Presents Fast Fringe [Edinburgh 2010]
Paul Sinha: Extreme Anti-White Vitriol
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Paul Sinha: Looking At The Stars
Misc live shows
Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show 2008
Paul Sinha: Last Christmas