- ‘When I was starting out, all the comics that I liked were Irish comics doing stories rather than gags. So in a way it seems odd to me that I’d be remotely popular in Ireland, because I think they’ve got a shit foreign copy of their better thing.’ Stewart Lee
- Ventriloquist Nina Conti is related to Napoleon; while comic Fred MacAulay's ancestors were slaves to a Hebridean family. That’s according to scientists on the Scotland's DNA project, which has tested almost 1,000 people to determine their genetic roots – and discovered that Nina’s father, the actor Tom Conti, shares the M34 genetic marker with Napoleon. The mutation originally came from the Cossacks. The research also found that Macaulay had Irish ancestors who were probably sold as slaves in the 9th century. With remarkable precision, the study suggested an ancestor was taken by ship from Dublin to the Hebrides and at some point had sex with his owner’s wife.
- One of the few comedians at the Melbourne comedy festival to refuse Chortle a review ticket was Daniel Townes, who said he wouldn’t be ‘comfortable’ having a critic in the audience. His show Judge Me Schmudge Me is billed as ‘an insightful and hilarious look into why it doesn’t matter what other people think of you’.
- Lee Mack has revealed that he protected his modesty during nude scenes on the new series of Not Going Out – by using a sock. ‘I’m supposed to be completely naked but I didn’t have the confidence to do that,’ he told listeners to Absolute Radio. ‘What they do in sitcom-land is they give you a little sock so that from behind you look naked but from the front you’ve got a sock on your willy. It’s never a good look. It’s a bit awkward ‘cos in between takes you’re having chats with blokes with socks on, and you’re going “so er, have you been working much recently?” and they’re going “yeah, this that and the other” and you’re thinking there’s a bloke there with a sock on his willy.’
- America has a Suicide Prevention Comedy Tour.
- Love is in the air in comedy this week. Not only is stand-up John Cooper getting hitched at the Manchester Comedy Store on Sunday, but there was a proposal at London’s Soho Comedy Club last weekend. Before the show started, security guard Tom Cowley had a word with MC Kate Smurthwaite, who got him up on stage as part of the post-interval banter, whereupon he popped the question to his girlfriend Nichola Byrne. Afterwards, Empire Casino, which hosts the club, gave every member of the audience a free glass of bubbly to celebrate. Smurthwaite said: ‘I've been doing comedy for eight years and watching comedy forever. I've never seen this happen before, and it was so cool to be a part of it.’ Here is the moment:
- Dylan Moran this week staked a claim to be the first English-speaking comedian to play Russia. However, it seems that the comedy club chain Mirth Control – known for having venues in all manner of out-of-the-way locations bigger companies wouldn’t touch – got there first. They promoted shows in Moscow as far back as 2004, and thanks to them Ian Stone can claim the historic first. We reported the tour at the time, and Stone recalled this week it was a tough gig: ‘I had an interpreter on stage with me simultaneously translating my jokes into Russian,’ he said. ‘Although she may have been doing her own material. Who knows? It was totally surreal.’
- Musical comedy act Kunt & The Gang is always going to have problems getting publicity, so it was brave of the Northampton Chronicle to give their gig in the town this week a big plug. But the paper referred to them only as K And The Gang, without any hint that the K might stand for something...
- John Bishop has jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet, for a skydiving challenge on Sky’s sporting panel show A League Of Their Own. He said of his preparations for the tandem jump: ‘The main thing that crosses your mind when you fill out the form and put your next of kin, you think that lucky cow is going to get a load of money’. Meanwhile Jack Whitehall did a simulated wing walk, in comfort of the TV studio, for the same show. During the exercise, the wind ‘accidentally’ stripped him of his trousers, leaving his Union Jack boxers exposed.
- Doug Stanhope wakes up his girlfriend Bingo in an, erm, ‘unusual’ way:
- Meanwhile, Stanhope has recalled how he once threw up on stage in Liverpool. ‘It wasn't from being overly drunk,’ he insisted to Front magazine. ‘But I'd ordered a tequila and they brought me up whisky, so my mouth was ready for tequila. I'm not a whisky drinker so my body rejected it like a bad kidney transplant and I just puked all over the stage. Here's a note to any young comedians reading this - if you're gonna puke on stage, make sure it's your closing bit. All the funniest jokes in your arsenal aren't gonna amuse people as much as vomiting all over yourself on stage. You can't follow that. I guess I could've followed it by shitting my pants.’
- Tweets of the week:
Gary Delaney (@GaryDelaney):Choirboys refer to singing from the same hymn sheet as 'making sure they all agree on corporate objectives'.
jacques_aih (@jacques_aih): There are 3 buttons; "Hot drinks", "Cold drinks", and "Hot or Cold drinks". I like this Venning machine.
Twop Tips (@TwopTwips): MINISTERS. Come across as regular guys on the Today programme by asking John Humphries if you 'can say a few hellos' (via @JonnyB)