Comedy is not just for Christmas…

I have now had time to watch some of the Christmas presents we got this year, and I have collected together my thoughts on the comedy DVDs in particular as the subject of my last post in 2012. I have been a little cheeky and added in the Ross Noble DVD set I got for my birthday a while ago. With the exception of Frankie Boyle the DVDs featured people off the telly that we see week-in week-out on various panel shows, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was only a very small amount repeated material across all the acts.

Jon Richardson – Funny Magnet

Apparantly Jon Richardson has become somewhat of a sex symbol, not sure why, but them I am a bloke. Hence the title of this his first DVD release. His act is mostly based on observational comedy surrounding his pet OCD fueled hates and his misery at having to put up with himself for thirty years. The set is short and there are only two bonus features – his Live at the Apollo set which lasts approximately 15min and a commentary. I have not watched with the commentary as yet, but even so I think this is a rather poor effort given this is his first DVD outing. Having said that I did find his stuff very funny and he was one of the funniest comedians I have seen live. There is very little audience interaction and comes across more as a confessional monologue in which he explores his own unique brand of whining misery.

Alan Carr – Spexy Beast Live

Alan Carr performed in Manchester to a huge audience in comparison to the Jon Richardson gig. The set was longer and Carr was more animated and more playful with the audience. Most disappointingly the only extra on the disk is his Live at the Apollo set which lasts slightly longer than Richardson’s (if you don’t count the MP3 version of the main feature that is purportedly on the disk somewhere). His comedy was no different to the short introductions he does on Chatty Man but of course he has more to expand on themes and develop some ‘call back’ moments. There is some audience interaction, but the set felt about 95% rehearsed and scripted.

Sarah Millican – Thoroughly Modern Millican

Although most of her hour-and-a-half long act is scripted and well-rehearsed there is also a lot more audience participation (about 50%-ish) and engagement than Carr or Richardson and her speed of delivery is far faster so she gets through more material. She has developed close-to-the-knuckle material on her BBC show, but her live act shows her in her normal sweary foul-mouthed mode in which she appears far more relaxed and less auto-cued talking about sex, bodily functions, lady-bits and the like, and more likely to display her quick wittedness with some excellent comebacks. Millican proves the misogynistic critics wrong in that women can do stand-up, but I have to say that I do at times find her a little tiresome while Siggy will be chortling away quite happily as she talks about her single life, pies, ‘dodgems’ and ‘bumper cars’ and starting new tea -towels. On the flip-side I find her material about sex, swearing, her family and getting old very amusing. I also love her accent which helps the delivery of some her jokes. In terms of bonus features there is about an hour of extra stuff including two Radio 4 items.

Frankie Boyle – The Last Days of Sodom

About the same length as Jon Richardson’s Funny Magnet Boyle’s stand-up routine at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow is described as humankind’s final hellish yawn and is supposed to be his last ever tour. I stopped watching Mock The Week when Boyle left the show and I own and love his two other DVDs and thought that the short-lived Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights with the Canadian comic Tom Stade was excellent. No matter how offensive and controversial he gets I still find him funny, in fact the shock he generates is part of the amusement factor for me. This DVD is much the same as his others – think of the most controversial things he could joke about and he will – pedophilia, rape, disability, religion, 911 – you name it he will make you laugh about it. Audience participation is about 10% of the act and is more like personal abuse, but they seemed to enjoy it. Amongst the most offensive material was some stuff about Michael Jackson which to describe it as close to the knuckle would be the like describing a bloody wrist stump of a severed hand as close to the knuckle, but it was still bloody funny nonetheless. This was unashamed shock comedy at its best. Unfortunately, in terms of bonus features there is only a 24min pilot of an unseen show called Frankie Boyle’s Rehabilitation Programme which I did not have time to see before this post.

Ross Noble – Nonsensory Overload

This 3 DVD collection includes a Canberra show, Hay Festival and best of tour feature, Hammersmith show and Laughs in the Park. While it is quite possible that all this stuff could fit on one or definitely two discs this is by far the best value for money in terms of laughs per pound amongst all the DVDs in this post. Of course, as the title suggests, most of what Noble jokes about is pretty much repetitive rambling nonsense from the realms of the surreal and as his is custom is largest based on extrapolating initial impressions of people sitting in the front row. This kind of improvisational comedy can be a little hit and miss at times and I have been disappointed by some moments in the six other Noble DVDs I have and the last live performance I went to at De Montford. However the first time I saw him many moons ago in Nottingham I ended up with a sore thigh from slapping myself hysterically on the leg too often – I thought he was hilarious. All very subjective and with Noble very dependant on who is in the audience. On this DVD only about 20% of the Canberra gig appeared to be pre-written material which is impressive.

And finally Happy New Year to you, and I hope you keep reading this blog through 2013…

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