Comedy

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…

Chris Lilley as Quentin, the real-estate agent with an improbably huge arse who dreams of becoming a famous DJ

Gloriously un-PC: Chris Lilley’s Swiftian, scabrous, gleefully misanthropic Lunatics reviewed

11 May 2019 9:00 am

‘Unfunny, boring and utterly unrelenting,’ says the Guardian’s one-star review of Chris Lilley’s new sketch series Lunatics (Netflix). And if…

Frankie Boyle's New World Order, on which the comic is paid to say the totally and predictably sayable. Image: BBC/ Endemol Shine UK/ Brian J Ritchie

Why has Frankie Boyle gone so soft?

27 April 2019 9:00 am

‘I spend a lot of time helping teenagers who’ve been sexually abused…’ — beat — ‘…find their way out of…

Netflix’s ‘Our Planet’

If you liked Triumph of the Will, you’ll love Our Planet

13 April 2019 9:00 am

If you liked Triumph of the Will, you’ll love this latest masterpiece of the genre: Our Planet. The Netflix nature…

There’s little difference between Question Time and Britain’s Got Talent

6 April 2019 9:00 am

The contestants for the 13th series of Britain’s Got Talent, the variety show which starts on Saturday, certainly showed variety:…

Now – as in the Soviet Union – making a joke can be a dangerous, life-changing mistake

6 April 2019 9:00 am

I was surprised to learn that the novelist Milan Kundera celebrated his 90th birthday on Monday. I had no idea…

It’s shocking how many Michael Jackson fans are still determined to take his side

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Halfway through the first part of Channel 4’s extraordinary documentary Leaving Neverland (Thursdays), I flicked through the comments on social…

Sian Clifford as Claire and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag

Promising but, compared to the first series, short of laughs: Fleabag reviewed

9 March 2019 9:00 am

BBC2’s MotherFatherSon announced its status as a classy thriller in the traditional way: by ensuring that for quite a long…

Second coming: Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge

I’ve never seen Coogan better or Partridge funnier: This Time with Alan Partridge reviewed

2 March 2019 9:00 am

Steve Coogan is back as Alan Partridge but frankly who cares? Like Ali G, I’ve long thought, he’s one of…

Rupert Graves and Colin Mcfarlane in Pinter's 'hilarious sketch' Victoria Station. Photo: Marc Brenner

One masterpiece, one dud and one interesting rediscovery: Pinter Five reviewed

19 January 2019 9:00 am

One masterpiece, one dud, and one interesting rediscovery. That’s Pinter Five. Victoria Station is a hilarious sketch which might have…

Divine comedy: Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy

The best tribute possible to the greatest comics ever: Stan & Ollie reviewed

12 January 2019 9:00 am

You mess with Laurel and Hardy at your peril. Their fan base is essentially the entire world. Samuel Beckett adored…

Doors drummer John Densmore and Police percussionist Stewart Copeland. Photo: BBC / Somethin’ Else Sound Directions Ltd / Nico Wasserman

According to BBC4, what was one of the ‘most important inventions in modern music’?

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Here’s a tricky quiz question for you. What word completes this sentence from a BBC4 documentary on Friday: ‘The world…

My one-night stand-up hell

17 November 2018 9:00 am

At 8.45 p.m. I was back in the toilets again feeling pure terror. In front of me was a narrow…