The 1 Like Fish
Topping & Butch
Two Episodes Of MASH
From his album Tim Key. With A String Quartet. On A Boat
More Tim Key videos
|We Need Answers: Ian McMilland|
|We Need Answers: French Translation|
|No More Women|
|Alex Horne and Tim Key|
Tim Key won the 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Award for his show, The Slutcracker, a mix of poetry, unconventional stand-up and film. And in 2012, Masterslut won best show atthe Chortle Awards.
A former member of the Cambridge Footlights, he first came to the Fringe with their 2001 Edinburgh show Far Too Happy, which also starred Mark Watson and was nominated for the Perrier award for best newcomer.
He also featured in Alex Horne's best-newcomer nominated Making Fish Laugh in 2003, and is part of the four-man sketch troupe Cowards. His solo Edinburgh debut came in 2004, with the tragic one-man comedy play Luke & Stella, which was made into a Radio 4 series called All Bar Luke.
His poetry has also feature on Radio 4’s Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better and Charlie Brooker's Newswipe.
Sheeps Festive Bash
Sketch trio Sheeps must have been good boys this year, since Santa delivered them an impressively full house at the 800-seat Union Chapel for last night’s festive special... not bad for an outfit with little public profile. But having Mark Watson, Tim Key and David O’Doherty among their little helpers, plus a house band in the form of the Horne Section, must surely have helped.
The threesome threaded a flimsy seasonal yarn like so much threadbare tinsel between the guest spots, creating a world of apparent long-standing Yuletide traditions, such as the blue-suited Papa Boost distributing chocolately treats. Cynical Alastair Roberts thought it all endemic of the rampant commercialiasm ruining the season of goodwill. Could his friends Daran Johnson and Liam William induce the true spirit of Christmas into their Grinch-like chum? If you need an answer, you have much to learn about dramatic resolution...
All good middle-class boys – ex-Cambridge Footlighters, no less – Sheeps at times sound like any off-the-peg Radio 4 sketch team of the past 30 years. But they play this very well, with strong writing that provides the distinctive quirks their personas often lack. Cheesy set pieces are well-played, they have marvellous attention to detail, and there’s another welcome outing for their calling-car routine imagining, if you can contemplate such a thing, a musical based on Oliver Twist. In all they created a successful pantomime spirit which ran through the night.
First of the guests was Watson, appearing from the massive pulpit centre stage. He’d been asked to appear as something Christmassy, so went for the ‘borderline blasphemous’ Jesus Christ... though being his easily distracted self, he barely touched his supposed character.
Instead, he showed a glimpse of dissatisfaction with the life of a comedian, sort of announcing a kinda semi-retirement, in that obtuse way of his. But as others have found before, well-channelled disillusionment can fuel artistic renaissance, and with fewer cares to how he is received, Watson showed a slight more prickly side to his normal bonhomie; a bit more of an edge to his still-playful shtick. If he’s serious about withdrawing from comedy, that would be a loss, especially as the extra honesty is kicking in.
I’d be less sad to see Oyster Eyes go... they seem like drama school try-hards, thinking silly voices, camp costumes and ill-fitting wigs are enough for comedy. Their surrealism, though, is just a mash of random words, not the charmed strangeness of this genre at its best. They later returned for a supposed spoof of ‘whoopsie!’-style Seventies sitcoms that had neither grace nor wit.
Kieran and Joe were patchy, but they definitely have talent. Their long-winded ‘intervention’ sketch involving an audience victim was all hoopla and too little content, the occasional sharp aside notwithstanding; but their story about holiday niggles provided some exquisitely funny lines for the magnificently dim-witted Kieran.
In the second section provided a highlight of any bill, the tragically sozzled children’s entertainer Jeremy Lion performing his increasingly inebriated version of the 12 Days Of Christmas, as his patient pianist Hilary tries to keep him on track. As always, Justin Edwards delivers a pitch-perfect performance, the insanity becoming funnier with each verse, magnified by the repetition of his struggles with the lyrics, making this a real Christmas gift.
Tim Key produced a special seasonal set, too, though with their underlying tone of mundane tragedy you would hardly call his collection of poems ‘festive’. Yet there’s a blunt beauty to his verses that makes them unexpected – and funny – and delivered with such a distinctive matter-of-factness that nicely underplays the impact.
The third section began with a reappearance of all the guests to help resolve the Sheeps’ Christmas crisis, before being given over the the delights of David O’Doherty - who, like Watson, seems to be increasingly flavouring his act with some gritty realism. ‘Holy shit, as we sit here, we’re all slowly fucking dying’ is not the sort of opening gambit you expect from a man known for ‘low-energy musical whimsy’. Later, as he contemplates the collapse of a relationship, he lies on the floor wallowing in his failure to be a real man, especially compared to the lives of his dad’s generation in their mid-thirties.
But the bleakness is only there to be laughed in the face of, and DOD leaves us all chuckling as the band kick into the farewell number.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 18th Dec, '12|
Monday 23rd Jul, '12- Old Royal Naval College
Tuesday 6th Sep, '11- Old Royal Naval College
Friday 19th Aug, '11-
Monday 15th Nov, '10-
Carlsberg Cat Laughs 2010 
Thursday 10th Jun, '10- Kilkenny Langtons
Thursday 19th Nov, '09- Bar FM
Sunday 13th Sep, '09- 100 Club
Tim Key: The Slutcracker - Fringe 2009
Saturday 29th Aug, '09-
Friday 10th Jul, '09- Tabernacle Centre
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2001 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2007 - Friday 0th Dec, '07-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Great if you like your comedy with a stick up its arse. pretentious to the nth degree and moreover - not funny at all... Comedy for people who think they are smart but aren't really...
As someone who hates the way the word is used for any talentless tosser these days I think he is a genius. No really I do.
The highlight of my Edinburgh this year, especially at the Horne section where he was off his tit's, hilarious and i think i might be a tiny bit in love with him now. I just love the way he delivers his poems.
The emperor has no clothes - darling of the twitterati, his sub-Chris-Morris-Blue-Jam monologues and poems seem cynical.
Seen him a few times, and every single time he's been nothing less than brilliant. I'm so pleased for him winning the main Edinburgh award this year, and I'm equally pleased that We Need Answers has been recommissioned.
Absolutely wonderful. Should definitely be up for the big one this year, and if not, then should at least be a dead cert for the next poet laureate.
Alan Partridge: Mid Morning Matters
Instructions, Guidelines, Tuteledge, Suggestions, Other Suggestions, and Examples Etc, by Tim Key
Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better Series 2
Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better
Series one of his radio show
Far Too Happy
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Tim Key: The Slut in the Hut
We Need Answers: The Inaugural Festival Challenge Cup
Edinburgh Fringe 2008
We Need Answers 
Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Tim Key: The Slutcracker
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Tim Key: The Slutcracker 
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Tim Key: Masterslut
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Horne and Key and ...
Tim Key: Masterslut