It has been more than three months since I last posted in this series and I think it is about time for another. One of the scariest things I’ve had to do is to stand up in front of an audience and speak in public. Over time I got better at it, and even managed to throw in a few jokes along the way – fortunately, audiences laughed in the right places. Knowing how hard it is to do that I am always impressed by people who have chosen to make it their career, so I’m sharing a few pieces from some of those who make me laugh. Apologies to those not from these shores, who may not have heard of any or many of these guys but comedy can travel, I think, if done well. In deference to your delicate sensibilities, I’m doing my best to keep this selection clean – believe me, there are plenty more that make me laugh but which might not be suitable!
My first is from a comedian who tends to get sneered at by the cool kids, but I don’t think we have many better than him at observational comedy. This is a compilation of four short pieces by Michael McIntyre:
He has now been given his own Saturday evening show on BBC TV, one of those light entertainment melanges which involve music, comedy, and some superb gotchas. He’s a favourite of mine – I’m not cool!
Milton Jones, my next selection, is rather different. He is the king of the one-liners, with some very clever wordplay. See what you think:
In sharing these I’m doing my best to keep to a minimum the references that might not make much sense to a non-UK audience. Milton mentioned Pearl & Dean in that, and hummed a tune. If you didn’t get the reference, they are a UK company which since 1953 (an auspicious year) has controlled a large part of the advertising we see in cinemas. It has changed a bit over the years, but their signature tune is recognisable to anyone who has been in a British ‘movie theater’ in that time – if you want to check his accuracy you can find the tune here.
Another comedian I enjoy is the Welshman, Rhod Gilbert. He does rants better than anyone else I’ve seen, and this is a typical clip:
When I watched this on YouTube it was followed by an advert, and then there was his story of wanting just one baked potato in the supermarket. It doesn’t follow on if you watch the embedded version, but is well worth a look. You’ll find it here, if you liked this one – both reduce me to tears of laughter.
Technically, this next one isn’t strictly ‘stand up,’ as Joe Lycett is sitting down, but I’ve seen him tell this as part of his stand up routine so I think it counts. I prefer this version, which then morphs into a few other observations on British comedy, for reasons best known to the uploader:
That clip comes from a TV show called 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, which came about from merging 8 Out Of 10 Cats, a comedy panel game, with Countdown, a long-running daytime words and numbers quiz programme. It has frequently given me a great deal of hilarity, often provided by one of the other panellists you might have seen in that clip: Sean Lock. Sadly, Sean lost his battle with cancer recently, at the age of just 58, and I think it fitting to include him in this piece by way of tribute. His humour, which was often seen in stand up routines, often involved surreal stories that make me hoot, and it is sad to think that he won’t be there any more. The TV company that broadcast those shows put together this compilation of some of his sitting down humour, which is a little bit on the naughty side in a couple of places but please don’t let that put you off – it is hysterically funny:
“You can’t write tears” is such a great line to remember him by.
In the second of these posts I gave you a couple of examples of the storytelling ability of Greg Davies, who reduced a couch full of Hollywood A-listers to helpless laughter on the Graham Norton Show. Some of his stand up routines are a bit sweary, but this one was broadcast on the BBC’s Live At The Apollo series, so it’s quite safe(ish). For today’s final clip, I give you Greg’s story of his massage in Thailand:
I’ve had loads of fun watching these while compiling this post, plus several others that I might share another time. I hope you’ve enjoyed them too, and that they have brightened up your day. It is dull and rainy here, so this is just what I needed to lift my spirits!
See you again soon, and enjoy the rest of your weekend 😊