Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
Simon B Cotter
Snorri Hergill Kristjansson
Special guest who cannot be named
Stephen K Amos
Steve N Allen
With Robert Peston
From her BBC2 show
More Sarah Millican videos
|With Robert Peston|
|On cats who ignore her|
|On The Graham Norton show|
|On Dave's One Night Stand|
|Trapped in her bra|
|Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow|
|At Stand Up For Freedom 2008|
|if.comedy award ceremony 2008|
|Sarah Millican 2008|
Writer and comic Sarah performed her first stand-up gig in September 2004, and the following year was runner-up in both the Funny Women and So You Think You're Funny awards, as well as the BBC New Comedy Awards in 2006.
She was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2006 Chortle Awards and won the best newcomer if.comedy award at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe with her debut show, Sarah Millican's Not Nice. The same show was nominated for the Barry Award - the top prize at the Melbourne Comedy Festival - the following April.
In 2010, she became the first female to win the Best Headliner at the Chortle awards
Her first play Spent was staged at The Customs House in South Shields in September 2005.
Channel 4 Comedy Gala 2011
This is comedy as an endurance event – the sort of night that would do Ken Dodd proud. It’s hard enough to build an atmosphere for stand-up in the vast O2, add the fact that the show, with interval, is three-and-a-half hours long, and comics have just a few short minutes to make their mark, and it’s not the most conducive of environments.
Still it’ll look good on telly – which means, idiot O2 punters, you don’t have to struggle to record it on your camera from an eighth of a mile away. And last year’s event raised around £800,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, so let’s not be too churlish about what will be achieved. But, good work aside, this is no way to watch stand-up.
In fact, it’s a brutally tough way to judge a comic’s standing, with 21 the top names in the business almost going back to the days of Comedy Store’s gong show– impress or die, and do it quickly.
Closing the first half with a routine longer than most were allowed, Michael McIntyre was probably the biggest draw; and proved his worth with a typically assured observational set. Post-Britain’s Got Talent, he’s not pretending he’s one of us any more (‘I quite like being famous, it’s awesome!’) and has some entertaining yarns about being recognised that nonetheless have a self-deprecating edge. Chuck in some relatable anecdotes about his cheese-obsessed child and that trademark strut that keeps the cameramen on their toes, and you have a success.
Proof that quality will out came earlier on with Sean Lock, with probably the best material of the night, including some ultra-topical material about the new Icelandic volcano on a night when most acts, understandably, played it safe with their greatest hits. He’s evidence that you don’t need a supercharged performance to engage a venue this size if the jokes are strong enough.
On the flipside, Lee Evans, with another longer slot, won over the room midway through the first half with a combination of his fame and his energy. ‘What a big place,’ he gasped at the site of the room, slightly disingenuously since he’s a regular performer here. Some of his routines are so old hat they could be a metaphorical tricorne – getting stuck behind a caravan on a country road or the subtext when meeting a girlfriend’s parents for the first time. But there are some more inventive lines and in a short set his physicality is a welcome adrenaline shot.
Rewind to the start, and one of a couple of odd turns that didn’t quite belong: Ndubz – though their uninspired music was eventually interrupted by an Alan Carr stunt. We were given no such respite from he later interloper, Chris Moyles, who dressed as Freddie Mercury and engaged a reluctant audience in a bout of call and response. Pointless.
So on through the comics. Dara O Briain started strong with conversational but gaggy material about guilty pleasures and of being the daytime dad. Perhaps it was the child-related charity beneficiaries – or the fact that lots of comics at this level are of a certain age – but parenthood was to be a recurring theme of the night. It was good stuff, but the audience were cold (though not weary as they would later be) and being the first of so many means he’d be hard to recall by the end.
Mark Watson’s wonderfully unaffected demeanour proved engaging, and means that when punchlines such as ‘minge of steel’ come, they have extra impact for seeming so natural. More laughs of recognition came from Alan Carr with tales of the after-effects of drinking told with usual high camp.
Jo Brand received a more muted response, her grumpy demeanour perhaps over-familiar now, despite a tale of abduction that’s got quite an edge. But she was certainly a contrast to the following comedian, Lee Evans.
Hosting a few acts, Jonathan Ross made a decent fist of turning his obvious comic sensibilities into stand-up – which is not always an easy transition. His story about visiting Great Ormond Street was natural and entertaining, those of his beloved pet dogs interrupting his sexual congresses were more forced, but not without charm.
Deprived in this venue of his usual forte of messing with the audience, Jason Byrne initially struggled to make an impact with his battle of the sexes material – but a suggestion of a cheeky and childish bedroom game won them round, and he came good in the end.
Sandwiched between Sean Lock and Chris Moyles was the warm domesticity of Sarah Millican. A great opening line leads into a lazy gag or two about underwear carrying slogans, but then a story of her parents and a suicide pact was irresistibly charming.
Next up, Glasgow lad Kevin Bridges had some cheeky appeal – such as calling London home – but didn’t really sparkle after so many other acts, and no interval yet in sight. Routines about driving tests and learning Spanish just seemed a little too familiar.
Jon Richardson’s stint on Stand Up For The Week and as new team captain on 8 Out Of 10 Cats makes it look like he’s being groomed as one of the comedy faces of Channel 4. But his main story of an odd local newspaper story never really took off. His comedy is better looking inward at his own OCD tendencies, but this came too late in this short set.
Finally the Michael McIntyre, and then that long-awaited interval. After which came Rich Hall, who protested: ‘I’ve been thrown to the wolves here.’ The show – obviously over-running - restarted far too quickly, and he had to perform to thousands of people streaming into the auditorium, and shuffling past others into their seat. If they missed any of his set, it was their loss, as he doled out some great lines – especially about Osama Bin Laden’s death and the ‘dignified burial at sea’ before performing a witty and surprisingly tender love ballad to a Ku Klux Klan member, backed by a full backing section.
Jack Dee might have been one of the more established stars of a show not short on familiar faces, but he seemed to phone in his routine about the health service. Taking those annual lists of accident statistics and sneering at the people who hurt themselves on swing bins or cruet set seems easy, and his deadpan slipped into lacklustre.
Rhod Gilbert reinvigorated things with a typical lively rant about his misadventures in retail. This time the thing he got annoyed trying to buy was a hoover – his sharp anti-bullshit rage spilling over to the ridiculous when it comes to the anthropomorphic Henry; but the audience go with him, just to see how it all turns out.
Micky Flanagan was another highlight of the night, with a rather bottom-centric set, but the cheerily matter-of-fact way he described his bout of Delhi belly proved a definite winner from this charismatic working-class everyman.
A lull started to kick in around now, which Andi Osho didn’t really have the material to overcome – charisma and likability proving not enough on their own as her ideas about the Olympics lacked killer lines, the odd nicely descriptive phrase not withstanding.
Her Stand Up For The Week co-star Jack Whitehall pulled things around. As always, much of his material didn’t stand out – though his take on the Midsomer Murders racism row is sharp – but it was delivered with real aplomb. Never was this more evident in his confession to ‘posh shame’ when he disguised his roots by talking like a youth from the ghetto. Such patois is probably the most hackneyed topic among modern comics, but he did his set piece with an impressive comic rhythm that guaranteed a round of applause.
Shappi Khorsandi didn’t have a good gig, with thousands of people falling largely silent during her set. The material, largely about being a single mum, was bitty, not building enough momentum to get us on board, while her punchlines were not strong enough for this not to matter. Her timing seemed off, too, as she rushed too quickly from one gag to the next.
Penultimately – yes, the acts still came – Jason Manford brought his winning ways to the stage, starting off with a knowing nod to his own infamy when he said of Andy Gray: ‘Imagine losing your job for something you did off air…’ His suggestion that all football officials be female was a cunning way into some old clichés, and actually gave them some new life. That and his instant affability.
A small but continuous stream of people left the show throughout John Bishop’s routine, which began after 11pm (the show had started at 7.30pm). And I’m not convinced he really gave them much to stay for. His chit-chat about parenthood was wordy and longwinded, with an obsession with the phrase ‘wank off a tramp’ the audience didn’t share. His style has always been such, but we all needed something punchy after so long a night, and he wasn’t the man to deliver that.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 25th May, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
Wednesday 17th Aug, '11-
Friday 27th Aug, '10-
Sarah Millican: Typical Woman - Fringe 2009
Tuesday 11th Aug, '09-
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2008 -
Sunday 1st Jan, '06-
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Misc live shows -
Saw her for the 2nd time tonight at Blackpool,definately the best female comedian in the uk at the moment by a mile. And better than most of the blokes I have seen in the last couple of years
I love Sarah. She is the funniest woman in comedy, making it look so effortless. Keep making me laugh darling
Fantastically unfunny and comes across as really quite objectionable (horribly passive aggressive at times). Ubiquity is not a guarantee of talent.
This woman has a serious talent.... Funny, quirky. edgy, soulful, dirty, evocative, thoughtful, thoughtful. A thinking person's comedian.
This girl is fantastic a breath of fresh air to us ladies! Men who don't like her are probably at the end of her jokes!
Not funny at all - she actually annoys me. She's on the TV all the time and is ALWAYS the weakest link in a group comedy format. Just being game and brave enough to get up onstage isn't really enough. You need decent material.
Horses for courses perhaps as we saw Sarah this weekend as part of a triple bill and she held her own among some well established acts and then some!Despite a wee bit of nerves at the start she soon settled down and gave us some of the biggest and best belly laughs of the entire evening. Occasionally seriously filthy, albeit in a good way just like a raucous night with your mates after a few drinks, after 5mins Sarah managed to draw us all in to her chatter and most of the room was rapt. Sure, some of the material is her take of hack subjects like feeling a bit plumper than you would like compared to media images of women or the subtle differences between your boyfriend when you are dating and his behaviour once you settle into a relationship et al. However I have to say we found that her considerable charm and the warmth and honesty of her friendly delivery triumphed over some of the weaker material.rnTwo of our gang had only discovered Sarah recently from her Radio 4 show and were not expecting such a professionally accomplished performance. In particular we all found her banter with the audience exemplary, some gentle probing unearthed an couple of real gems and she respectfully backed off a couple who were clearly not interested in joining in despite sitting bang front row centre wearing hats. So from us four, Sarah is a hearty well recommended! Esp. if you like what you may have seen of her on TV or heard on R4. You may well find yourself pleasantly surprised by her live set, as we were.
Simply not funny. always Talking about her "downstairs" as she puts it, trying to be rude as Jo Brand but nowhere near as funny.
|Sarah Millican in ticket fees boycott
Comic won't play expensive theatre chain
16/09/2012 Permanent link
Sarah Millican: Thoroughly Modern Millican Live
Sarah Millican Live
Walk on the Wild Side Series 2
Sarah Millican's Not Nice
Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Sarah Millican: Typical Woman
Stand Up For Freedom 
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Sarah Millican: Chatterbox
Stand-Up For African Mothers
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Sarah Millican: Thoroughly Modern Millican
Misc live shows
BBC New Comedy Award Final 2005
Channel 4 Comedy Gala 2011
Funny Women Final 2005
Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show 2008
Secret Policeman's Ball 2008
Sarah Millican: Home Bird