Comedy

Not even a genius could make Much Ado About Nothing funny

11 July 2020 9:00 am

The RSC’s 2014 version of Much Ado is breathtaking to look at. Sets, lighting and costumes are exquisitely done, even…

The bluff and bluster of Boris’s bland boy Brexiteers

4 July 2020 9:00 am

From the balcony where I take my daily exercise there is a view of the commercial centre of London that…

Not nul points but it’s no Spinal Tap: Eurovision Song Contest – The Story of Fire Saga reviewed

27 June 2020 9:00 am

This comedy stars Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as an Icelandic duo whose biggest dream is to represent their country…

Not merely funny but somehow also joyous: Sky One's Brassic reviewed

9 May 2020 9:00 am

Danny Brocklehurst, the scriptwriter for Sky One’s Brassic, used to work for Shameless in its glory days — although if…

Worth watching for the comments thread alone: NT's Twelfth Night livestream reviewed

2 May 2020 9:00 am

‘Enjoy world-class theatre online for free,’ announces the National Theatre. Every Thursday at 7 p.m. a play from the archive…

My quest for a universal cartoon

28 March 2020 9:00 am

The universal cartoon is a rare thing

You’ll keep saying ‘I’m sorry, did I hear that correctly?’: Fiasco reviewed

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Kevin Katke was quite a man. He had no military training, no political background and no espionage experience. Nonetheless, his…

Comedy gold: The Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

A Moorish princess shipwrecked on the English coast disguises herself as a boy to protect her virtue. Arriving in London,…

Why on earth did I volunteer to do stand-up?

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

It was on my ‘bucket list’, but that doesn’t mean it was a sensible thing to do. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro…

We were highly amused: the Queen — and Mrs Thatcher — thought Ken Dodd tattyfilarious

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Doddy! Thou shouldst be living at this hour. England hath need of tickling sticks. So also hath the rest of…

Comedy in the era of Twitter outrage: An interview with Ricky Gervais

21 December 2019 9:00 am

There’s a moment in Ricky Gervais’s 2018 Netflix stand-up show Humanity when he talks about buying a first-class air ticket,…

How did Richard Herring become the comedy podcast king?

26 October 2019 9:00 am

What does it mean to be a successful comic? Richard Herring isn’t sure. He’s been a ‘professional funnyman’ for nearly…

Circus routine rather than theatre: Noises Off reviewed

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Michael Frayn’s backstage comedy, Noises Off, is the theatre’s answer to Trooping the Colour. Everyone agrees that it’s an amazing…

Only fitfully funny: Chris Morris’s The Day Shall Come reviewed

12 October 2019 9:00 am

The Day Shall Come is a second feature from British satirist Chris Morris and like the first, Four Lions, it…

The age of LOLitics

30 September 2019 10:54 pm

This article is in The Spectator’s inaugural US edition. Subscribe here to get yours. One thing is now as obvious as a brick…

Proggery beyond parody: Iggy Pop’s Free reviewed

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Grade: D+ Pleasant memories — of hearing ‘Raw Power’ for the first time and later the amiably shambolic chug of…

A decorative pageant that would appeal to civic grandees: The Secret River reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

The Secret River opens in a fertile corner of New South Wales in the early 1800s. William, a cockney pauper…

Watching Stephen Fry was like being in the presence of a god

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Stephen Fry lies prone on an empty stage. A red ball rolls in from the wings and bashes him in…

Tony Slattery is still a miraculously gifted comedian

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Some of the marketing efforts by amateur impresarios up in Edinburgh are extraordinary. I was handed a leaflet for a…

Frank Skinner

‘I’ll miss Brexit when it’s solved’: Frank Skinner interviewed

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Only one thing makes Frank Skinner nervous. ‘Water. Water scares me. I don’t get nervous on stage. Just in swimming…

Games for Lovers perfectly captures the world of lovesick millennials. Image: Geraint Lewis

These obscure Tennessee Williams scripts are classics of the future: Southern Belles reviewed

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Games for Lovers feels like a smart, sexy TV comedy. Martha is still in love with her old flame Logan…

A badly missed opportunity: How the Middle Classes Ruined Britain reviewed

27 July 2019 9:00 am

BBC2’s How the Middle Classes Ruined Britain (Tuesday) began rather promisingly. ‘I’m a working-class comedian who voted Leave,’ announced presenter…

Billy Connolly and the death of free speech

6 July 2019 2:00 am

I hope readers will forgive me for returning to a subject I addressed here recently. It was a reflection on the…

Entitled white men won’t like it – which is why I did: Late Night reviewed

8 June 2019 9:00 am

Late Night is a comedy starring Emma Thompson as a chat-show host in America whose ratings are in decline and…

Lusty, roistering Suranne Jones as Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack. Image: BBC / Lookout Point / Jay Brooks

Sunday night on the Beeb was an orgy of virtue-signalling and third-rate sport

25 May 2019 9:00 am

After its new costume drama You Go, Girl! (Sundays) about how amazing, empowered and better-than-men women are, especially if they…