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Tartan Ribbon Comedy Benefit 2008
Tartan Special: Barry & Tommy's Scottish Comedy Allstars
Tea And Cake II: In The Gateau
Tealights Are For Lovers
Teen Comedy Improv
Terry Milligan's Bringing in the Sheep
Terry Saunders: Figure 8
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This Show Belongs To Lionel Richie No 1: Sketch Show
This Show Belongs to Lionel Richie No 2: Stand-Up
This Show Belongs To Lionel Richie No 3: Up Arthurs Seat
This Show Belongs To Lionel Richie No 4: Dial-A-Sketch
This Show Belongs To Lionel Richie No 5: Comedy Mob
This Show Won't Change Your Life (But It Will Make You Laugh)
Thousand Years of German Humour
Tiger Lillies' 7 Deadly Sins
Tim FitzHigham: The Bard's Fool
Tim Minchin: Ready For This?
Tim Vine: Punslinger
Tina C: Tick My Box
Tom Allen: A Voyage Round My Mother
Tom Bell & The Age of Rockstar Death
Tom Corbett: Universal Horror
Tom Stade: Oh Fuck, Do We Need A Title, Too?
Tom Wrigglesworth: I'm Struggling To See How Thatís Helping
Tommy And The Weeks: Powershow!
Tony Cowards: Festival Of Football 2
Topical Scurvy: For Lunch
Two Birds, A Gay And A Fat Dude
Two Comics For Free And A Guest Comic... Also For Free
Two Episodes Of MASH Present Joe Wilkinson and Diane Morgan
Tom Stade: Oh Fuck, Do We Need A Title, Too?
Some people say tragedy + time = comedy; this controversial Canadian doesn't think he needs timeÖ
ĎCímon people, thatís a funny fucking joke,í Tom Stade appeals, not for the first time this gig. He thinks his material deserves so much more than the quiet-but-attentive Stand are, generally, giving him. There are more laughs in his desperate pleas for a reaction than there are in the original gags.
Stade has a point Ė to a degree - there are indeed some corking lines in his show, which mostly concerns his drug and alcohol use and the crushing oppression of being in a 13-year marriage. But then there are some so-so ones, too, about which he seems equally offended when they donít bring the house down.
But itís a curious sight to see him begging for applause. Literally. At one point, he wonít go on till he gets some, and, shifting uncomfortably, the audience put their hands together. A couple of gags later and the charade begins again.
Itís an interesting experiment in stand-up, for the audience do start giving him applause breaks from then on in. Very self-consciously at first, with no conviction, just knowing itís the game that they have to clap if Stade is to move on. But by the end, theyíre giving him lots of genuine applause, even if the material was no better than the earlier gags they just smiled at. Pavlov was right.
This isnít the only comedy experiment going on tonight. While other comics have slickly prepared shows theyíve sweated blood over, Stade saunters on with a notebook full of gags, a full week into his festival run. ĎIíve paid for the room so I can do what I like with it,í he asserts. And doing what he likes with it means workshopping gags for a future CD.
So itís not the tightest show. Even when he comes in on the hour with a lovely call-back joke looping back to the start and well-received by the audience, he doesnít close the show on that natural high, but refers back to his notes and finds a couple more gags-in-progress he wanted to try out.
Stadeís relaxed delivery has always been a major asset, so here heís allowed himself to kick back completely. Despite his solicitations for a reaction, he seems quite happy primarily entertaining himself, chortling away merrily at his own invention.
And there is plenty to laugh about. His fresh take on Jesusís water-in-to-wine trick is a lovely reversal, and there are some especially nice lines about his penchant for the booze. As youíd expect from unfinished material, other segments are bumpier Ė he canít improve on the true image using elephant dung for fuel once he tells us this fact, the kids-ruining-your-life topic is very close to the wife-ruining-your-life one and his ideas on the eight-limbed Indian baby some considered a God are interesting, but have not gelled into a great routine yet.
But even if this show is a bit sloppy, Stadeís sharp, bitter, downtrodden wit will still out to ensure more laughs in 60 minutes than a lot of the more slickly-presented offerings around the festival.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
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