Daniel Kitson riles New York critics

...after complaining of their note-taking

Daniel Kitson has rubbed up some of New York’s theatre critics the wrong way, after complaining about them taking notes in his one-man show.

Although Kitson has received glowing write-ups for his month-long run of It’s Always Right Now Until It’s Later in Brooklyn, there has been some dissent from journalists apparently irked by the lack of deference he has shown them.

New Yorker writer John Lahr went as far as accusing the storyteller-comedian of ‘defaming’ reviewers in an aside complaining about their note-taking.

Lahr, who is married to Fawlty Towers actress Connie Booth, was further aggrieved that Kitson would not provide him with a copy of the script to his monologue, which ends its run at the St Anne’s Warehouse tonight.

It was the comedian’s comments at one show that wound up both Lahr and Alexis Soloski, a theatre critic for the Village Voice.

Kitson claimed that journalists scribbling notes had distracted earlier audiences, and suggested that anyone who spotted such an outrage should punch the offending writer.

The line got a laugh, as did his admission that this might prove more distraction than the actual note-taking.

Lahr subsequently complained that he had to take notes if he couldn’t have a script, writing: ‘If Kitson wants the critics’ full attention—and he should have it—then he owes it to his act and to the critics to provide scripts, which he refuses to do.’

Soloski follwed up with a blog for The Guardian, making the same point about the script, adding: ‘As much as Kitson feels antipathy to reviewers in general, I would venture that he likes ones who misquote him even less.’

She then went on to explain her personal theatre etiquette, such as applauding ‘respectfully’ through the first curtain call – then grabbing her coat and bolting before the next.

Lahr, in particular, has not always been so sniffy about comedians taking on their audience. He wrote a hagiographical introduction to the Bill Hicks anthology Love All The People praising the iconoclast’s outlaw approach to comedy – and citing the incident when he viciously turned on a drunk female heckler and, after a lengthy rant, told her to ‘find a fucking soul’.

Published: 29 Jan 2012

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