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Laughing Horse New Act Final 2004
Laughing Horse new act final 2006
Laughing Horse New Act Final 2007
Laughing Horse New Act Final 2008
Laughing Horse New Act Final 2009
Laughing Horse New Act Final 2011
Laughter In Odd Places
Laurel & Hardy [Lucky Dog Productions]
Lee Evans: Roadrunner
Leicester Comedy Festival 2003 preview show
Leicester Comedy Festival 2007 Preview Show
Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show 2008
Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show 2009
Lenny Beige Is Alive And Well
Lenny Beige: Once In A Lifetime - A Tribute To Anthony Newley
Liz Carr: It Hasn't Happened Yet
Luke Wright: Cynical Ballads
Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show 2009
A fantastic comedy show to welcome in the new year! Nine festival acts appear to give you a taste of what's to come when the main Leicester Comedy Festival rolls into town from 6th to 15th February. A complete sell out for the last six years
The world of comedy can be an insular place. Acts hailed as geniuses by their peers and die-hard stand-up fans, may be received only coolly by the wider audience.
That’s why events like the annua l Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show can be so revealing, with a good proportion of its sold-out 1,700 audience likely to have never seen the inside of a comedy club. This is a gauge of what real people think. In that sense, it’s just like the Royal Variety Performance… but less starry, in the East Midlands, and held in the presence not of a Queen or Prince, but a county councillor from Groby.
It’s not the most obvious audience for the more weird and wonderful acts who grace the circuit, so putting demented Dutch absurdist Hans Teeuwen on the bill might have been something of a gamble. But he was one of two stand-out stars of the night; joyous news for those who would argue that you don’t need to be bland to be popular.
Teeuwen can sometimes be self-indulgent, but when he bangs out his brilliant set pieces as he did here, his manic energy, air of unpredictability and just plain daftness hits the spot. He’s never going to be for everyone – many were surely baffled by why a man making his sock puppet eat a Mars bar could possibly be funny – but his songs about Nostradamus, his own name and a convoluted story about the sort of movies he likes certainly won this twisted cabaretier plenty of fans tonight.
The other highlight of the night was the far more conventional Micky Flanagan, regaling us with his stories of being a working –class Cockney Herbert made good. His background gives him the insight to talk with about both sides of the class divide: from the lack of opportunities – and ambition – of his youth, to the pretentiousness of middle-class restaurants and parenting. He is, literally, a class act.
This is social commentary many can relate to, but deftly delivered as personal anecdotes. The breezy Flanagan has charm by the sackful and a finely-honed talent for benevolent piss-taking, with himself more often than not the victim of his good –natured joshing.
The showcase was held together by Jenny Éclair, in what she claimed was her first ever compering job. She’s not a natural host, but splitting her loud and lewd act into smaller segments serves it well, and she providing brash, lively, cartoon-like fillets between the other performers without her relentlessly brassy ‘host-flush Barbie’ persona becoming overly grating. Even her filthy mouth was forgiven. The older she gets, the more ridiculous her persona becomes, and the greater the grotesque caricature.
Ever-genial Jarred Christmas went down a storm, too, as his nerdish obsessions drove him from mild-mannered Kiwi to increasingly impassioned ranter, railing about such vital causes for concern as the downgrading of Pluto’s planetary status, and the reorganisation of his personal Top Ten Dinosaurs chart. Such zealous displays tend to play well – especially when the gripe is so persona l – and Christmas has the perfect mix of likeability geekiness and dynamic performance skills to pull it off with aplomb.
Another nerd with issues, the pernickety Jon Richardson, also went down well, with his cheery confessions about his low-level misanthropy and borderline OCD behaviour that means he insists every DVD and item of cutlery has its place his well-ordered Swindon home. He manages to be simultaneously both grumpily intolerant and endearingly self-deprecating about his own debilitating foibles – so getting laughs of recognition and pity both at the same time.
Aging thespian Count Arthur Strong’s senile bungling and spluttered malapropisms split the crowd, as he cack-handedly re-enacted a scene from Dracula, which quickly descended into an insane argument with himself. Steve Delaney’s impressive creation is someone who never keeps his inner monologue on the inside, and the babblings of his decaying mind provided moments of brilliance. But the set didn’t fully gel here, and he probably ended up baffling as many people than he converted.
Henry Paker – winner of last year’s new act competition at this very festival and much-vaunted star of the future – was something of a let-down. His set, largely about the niceties of punctuation in this text-messaging age, was slick and easy to relate to. But it lacked much personality, and he seemed to be trying too hard to emulate Michael McIntyre’s universality of middle-class observations. He was by far the least experienced on the bill – though you wouldn’t know it from his assured performance – so maybe he wheeled out his tried-and-tested material to impress such a large crowd… but the result was more sterile than he is capable of.
Shazia Mirza was pedestrian, too. She’s much more cheerful on stage than she used to be, and in this shortish set concentrated on doling out the punchlines, some of which were about her Islamic faith, some of which weren’t. The workmanlike gags themselves were resolutely OK: straightforward, unsurprising, sometimes very obvious . Nothing all that memorable or spectacular, but a passable offering
Though entertaining, Mitch Benn didn’t quite provide the show-stopping finale you might expect from such a commanding musical act. His banter didn’t help: largely ungracious complaints about how badly he’d been treated by the festival n the 11 years it took him to get to headline this gig. His tongue was probably in cheek… but it came across as a self-centred whine. Benn did point out that his show at the festival proper will focus on the songs – with the backing of full rock and roll band – which might come as a blessing, as his set is at its best when he lets the songs do the talking.
His anti-James-Blunt ballad struck a chord; likewise his witty old faithful about male gruntings meaning ‘I love you’. He closed with a rock opera based on an epic literary tale – The Very Hungry Caterpillar – which is musically impressive, although not much of a barnstormer to bring this generally impressive showcase to a climax.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
christ bennett your one lame arsed pr*#k, I saw that show, mitch benns line about waiting 11 years! that was a class gag and from where i was sitting it brought the house down! a self centred whine? give me a break man if anyone is self centered and whining here it is you you dip stick. And that rant about parker, hes new man and it WAS a preview and that many people, he did well, no need to rip him up or are you lining him up to be one of your bully victims for the future? and mirza pedestrian? well we all know you cant stop kicking her dont we. get a job as an undertaker man, it would suit your personality better, cos your fu#~ing crap at this one
Well if you can't find anything better to say about Steve Bennett, at least he is consistent - yet another tiresome and aggravated bashing of Shazia Mirza, and as someone said of him before 'by now it says more about Bennett then it does about Mirza'. There were three of us there and unless we were in another dimension completely she was up there with Christmas and Flanagan, and far from the vindictive "passable" which Bennett manages to come up with, and for the record we are not among the "real people" he talks about, (does he think of all comedy fans as perhaps sub-human?) but two of us are in the industry. We thought Mirza was sharp, witty and topical - her 'Audacity of Hope' gag is one the funniest I've heard on Obama (apart from Robin Williams' offering) and of course no one but Mirza could pull that off like she did. But clearly Bennett either does not get this or is blinded to any of Mirza's excellent material by some loathing rage of his own. A clue might be found in his reference to some of her jokes being about "her Islamic Faith", hello? she is Muslim! I cant recall him giving any Jews or Catholics this shit for joking about their faith - that's what comics do Steve, make parody of their own life and experiences. Honestly, the unprofessional carping and consistent bitterness of this man (which by now he doesn't even attempt to hide) is becoming an embarrassment in the industry. What we need is a website for reviews of critics.
Best of Leicester Comedy Festival Tour 2009
Grumpy Old Women Live 2
Jenny Eclair's 'Because I Forgot To Get A Pension' tour
Jenny Eclair: Eclairious
Jenny Eclair: Old Dog New Tricks
Jon Richardson: It's Not Me, It's You
Micky Flanagan: Back In The Game
Micky Flanagan: The Out Out Tour
Mitch Benn & The Distractions: Sing Like An Angel
Mitch Benn And The Distractions 2007 tour
Mitch Benn and the Distractions: The Where Next Tour
Mitch Benn: Rhyme Lord
Shazia Mirza: Cuckooland
Count Arthur Strong: The Musical?
Jarred Christmas: The Geek Show
Shazia Mirza: Fun!
The Comedy Zone
The World Stands Up Live
Jenny Eclair: The Andy Warhol Syndrome
Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music
Shazia Mirza: Wish You Were Here?
Mitch Benn and The Distractions
Nina Conti and Micky Flanagan
Shazia Mirza and Patrick Monahan
Stand Up For Freedom
Stand Up For Freedom
BBC New Comedy Awards Final
Big Value Comedy Show... Early
Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award Final
Edinburgh and Beyond FHM Comedy Tour 2001
Jenny Eclair: Middle Aged Bimbo
Jenny Eclair: Teatime Talk
Big Value Comedy Show (Late)
The Bruce Collective
Channel 4 Comedy Gala 2011
Funny Women gala 2005
Funny Women Gala 2006
Ha Ha Hammersmith II
It Wouldn't Be Xmas Without Us - Would It, Eh
Just for Laughs: Montreal Festival Showcase 2009
Laughing Horse New Act Final 2008
Twitter Comedy Night
Amsterdam Underground Comedy Collective
Jarred Christmas: The Hero Show
Jon Richardson: Spatula Pad
Micky Flanagan: What Chance Change?
Mitch Benn's Music Club
Amsterdam Underground Comedy Collective Presents Hans Teeuwen And Micha Wertheim
Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show
Count Arthur Strong: The Man Behind The Smile
Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman – Now With Added Welshman
Jon Richardson: Dogmatic
Shazia Mirza: A Portrait Of Shazia Mirza
Late Nite Down Under
Jon Richardson: This Guy At Night
Micky Flanagan: Spiel
A Night of Comedy for Ray - Hosted by Michael McIntyre
Bruce Collective [Edinburgh 2010]
Hans Teeuwen: Smooth and Painful
Henry Paker's 3D Bugle
Jarred Christmas Stands Up
Jon Richardson: Don’t Happy, Be Worry
Mike Wozniak and Henry Paker: The Golden Lizard
Rachel Bridge: How To Make A Million Before Lunch
Shazia Mirza: Multiple Choice
Comedy Gala 2011 In Aid Of Waverley Care
Henry Paker: Cabin Fever
Itch: A Scratch Event 
Shazia Mirza: Busybody
Jarred Christmas: Let's Go MoFo
Mitch Benn: Reduced Circumstances
The Distraction Club
Do We Need You After The Apocalypse? The Game Show
Henry Paker: Classic Paker
Jenny Eclair: Eclairious [Edinburgh 2013]
Mitch Benn Is the 37th Beatle