Posts Tagged ‘Comedian’

STEWART FRANCIS

10 February 2010

[Picture of Stewart Francis]I first came across Stewart Francis on “Mock The week” on TV. It seemed to me to be so refreshing to hear a comedian tell jokes again.  Just wee jokes — one-liners.  He is one of the few panellists who could stand their own against Frankie Boyle.

Stewart Francis is a superb dead-pan stand-up joke-teller.  I think audiences like to be able to remember the odd joke and tell it a dinner party or at the bar or at work.  A joke is a joke and it belongs to everyone.  Maybe one-liners have a better chance of being remembered for being so short.

I once saw Bernard Manning live in Manchester years ago, and he was “out of favour”, and jokes were out of fashion with the new “alternative” comedy scene.  But, and I hated myself for having to admit it, he was extremely funny; jokes just wear you down in the end.  They are so silly, and delivered so quickly.

Stewart Francis does one-liners, and most of them are clean and fairly PC as well — but he can still make connections and links that lifts the act from disjointed individual gags, to an actual proper routine. In that respect he bridges the gap between Bob Monkhouse/ Jimmy Carr/ Steven Wright / Chic Murray and Mitch Hedbergisms gags and paraprosdokians and the likes of Eddie Izzard and Billy Connolly.

[embedded clip from youtube.com]

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FRANKIE BOYLE

22 September 2009

[Picture of Frankie Boyle comedian]Frankie Boyle is brilliant.  He is the best part of “Mock The Week” — sooo acerbic!

He has a new book out soon called “My Shit Life So Far“, and I can hardly wait until 1st October (because that’s the date it will be available)! There’s no chance of seeing his run of live shows at The King’s Theatre next year as they are already sold out — but I like the fact that it’s called “I Would Happily Punch Every One of You In The Face Tour”. How “Frankie” is THAT?

Very few comedians make me laugh aloud, Frankie is one of them — and it’s guaranteed!

Embedded YouTube clip of Frankie Live at The Apollo December 2008

That’s just magic – “He looks like a sad face that somebody”s drawn on a scrotum” – sheer genius, and Abu Hamzar doing shadow puppetry with a hook for a right hand — fantastic. I don’t think he aims to be offensive, he’s just like blokes on the street in that respect — anything goes.  Most of the stuff on YouTube was cut from being broadcast.

Embedded YouTube clip of Frankie Live on “Mock The Week”

Like most comedians, once you get to know the material, you can hear the same gags re-used from time to time. But, with Frankie, it seems to me to be a two-way street; his quick-thinking wit informs his stand-up act as much as his stand-up repertoire provides gags for his on-the-spot stuff.

Where he falls down is his awareness of sensitivity — hence the legendary amount of outtakes and cuts.  I would guess that being aware of rules and suchlike would hinder his thought-processes to his detriment, so long-live Frankie Boyle’s free-flowing super-wit.

I love the reaction he gets from other comedians on “Mock The Week”; that really shows how “Out There” Frankie gets.

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WOODY ALLEN

21 January 2008

Woody Allen is a big hero of mine. Not because he was nerdy or geeky; I didn’t relate to that. Neither did I associate with nervousness, agitation, Jewishness or pretty much anything else.

The plain truth is that I love Woody Allen because he is so alien and so different from me. I laugh because he surprises me all the time.  Stories can go anywhere (and do).

He’s the nearest thing to a person worthy of envy.  It is impossible for me to think of him as a bad person or as having bad intentions. His single function seems to me to be to enrich our lives, to make things better for us, to entertain.

I think we all ought to live in a better world, the type of world Woody Allen seems to be in.  He proves that it is possible.  If only we could change the world to be more like that. That is something tangible to aim for.

It has to be the product of North America; that is where there is a culture of patronage, of philanthropy.

He is so versatile and creative and his work is so successful by most  metrics — but there are always detractors of his work and of his life.

I grew up with they guy. He’s always been there, ironically like Bogart was for his character in Play It Again Sam. I have his books, and I always went to his movies each year — and that brought about a new dimension.

“80 percent of success is showing up”

— That Woody Allen line has kept me going through surprisingly difficult times in my life.

But how marvellous to be given carte blanche — to make a movie every year for the rest of your life, starring whomsoever you want, about whatever you like!  A blank cheque.

I loved the fact that he kept his films 80 mins long, with the same crew and black-and-white credits and titles.

The thing is that you could see the legend emerging before your  very eyes — you knew as it was happening — that this man will be of legendary, Dickensian/ Shakespearian stature.

There has always been a strong sense of history being made with Mr Allen.

With is considerable output, he has been free to experiment — and not all things have been successful in terms of living up to the expectation or in terms of financial success at the box office.  But no matter.

Let Woody try it, make the mistakes and indulge himself on our behalf.

Ah the wonder!

Apart from that, I like the fact that he plays clarinet in a small Jazz club every Monday night.  He seems very centred in his life — in New York, in his work.  Much more sensible and grounded than his on-screen persona.

I reckon he’d be a good laugh on a day-to-day basis; that kind of quirky mind cannot be closed down.  I don’t think that his “serious” work shows that he’s grown up or become dry and sober and boring.  I just think he has to keep challenging himself — I mean to say come on; who could make a funny film every single year?

His early comedies are legendary, and his letters and articles brilliant. If you do not know him, do yourself a favour and check out this genius immediately!

embedded video:

Sadly, a lot of people I know think of Woody only in terms of him being a paedophile — which is pretty shocking.  I don’t know what is more shocking — that people think that or that the media can get away with that sort of thing.

Here’re that facts as I remember them — Woody Allen was married twice.  His first marriage was to a 16 year old when he was just 19.  They were both classically “too young”. Allen married again for a few years — and that marriage was finally wound-up in 1969.

He didn’t marry again — until Christmas Eve in Italy in 1997 when he married in Soon Yi, and they have been married ever since — that’s over a decade, and by far the longest relationship, and longest marriage Woody Allen has enjoyed.

The problem is his wife.  Soon Yi was adopted by Mia Farrow and André Previn, and raised as their child.  When Farrow and Previn split, she started a relationship with Woody Allen — and although the two never married, they had a son called Satchel and adopted two others.

Woody and Soon Yi fell in love and Woody split from Farrow.

Farrow was furious; and fair enough — she was spurned and scorned, this was her adopted daughter, her ex-lover and ex-boss.  He was father to one of her kids. She went to the courts for custody and she went to the media for backup.

Farrow got custody, but even though the courts threw out all the accusations, as a result of this bitterness and fuss, Woody Allen is often somehow thought-of as a paedophile, with the suggestion that he’d molested his own children, that he had abused his position as a father! Some people even think he married his stepdaughter, and that is such a shame!

I remember being furious at the press back then; it was very poorly reported, extremely unfair and biased.  But then I could see that it was somewhat “unsavoury” for a chap to take up with his lover’s adopted kid (whatever age and whatever the age difference), it may not be “nice”, but it wasn’t evil or illegal or abuse or anything like that.

However, as time has gone by, I have to say that they are a true couple – married for longer than usual in Hollywood, and that speaks for itself.  I don’t think Woody Allen takes marriage lightly — marrying the girl was a massive risk when you consider that Mia Farrow had all but ruined his reputation; with a costly divorce and no reputation, could he have recovered?  The only conclusion one can come to is that they really did just fall in love, and that they are a suitable and compatible couple.

A love that is strong enough to survive all that media hype, but also on a personal level as he’s lost his kid and she’s lost her adopted father André and mother Mia, and adopted siblings.

I personally learned a LOT from this tale — that it doesn’t matter what people think, that once you know your mind, stick to your guns.  Woody, to my knowledge, conducted himself with dignity throughout this long and drawn out saga, and I do not recall him slinging any mud back at Mia Farrow.

I don’t get a lot of modern life — Woody Allen’s situation is surely far from unique in this day and age.  I know of other odd arrangements, for example, take a woman who split from her man and taken the children. She then embarks on a relationship with another man.  If she then dies, is the new man responsible for these children? or does he hand them back to their original father(s)?

Hey, looks like material for a Woody Allen film… LOL!

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