The Bluffer's Guide to Stand-up Comedy (Bluffer's Guides)
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Instantly acquire all the knowledge you need to pass as an expert in the world of stand-up comedy. Never again confuse a nail with a bomb, a flop sweat with a cotton mouth, or a tag line with a zinger. Bask in the admiration of your fellow comedy aficionados as you pronounce confidently on the comparative merits of the greatest performers in the history of stand-up, and hold your own in any discussion about the best gags of all time.
one time there is probably an episode of Seinfeld airing somewhere in the world. And if there isn’t, there should be. US AND THEM An authoritative Bluffer’s Guide to Stand-up Comedy would not be complete without a trip across the Atlantic – partly because some of the early American comedy superstars were actually British. Indeed, US comedy owes more to Limeys than just a shared language. Charlie Chaplin was born in Kennington, South London. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston, Cumbria. And that
‘I was raped by a doctor… which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl.’ JOLLY HOCKEY STICKS By comparison, over on this side of the Atlantic, female stand-ups tend to be relatively demure. A worthy inheritor of the sort of wry British humour exemplified by the uniquely brilliant Joyce Grenfell in the 1950s and 1960s is Victoria Wood, although she added a distinctively less posh twang. The Prestwich-born comedian didn’t rise via the traditional route of comedy clubs; instead, she came up via the
too well. When she started to do gags about herself and her weight, things clicked: ‘I went to a health farm. Ended up eating my bedroom.’ For a while she continued to work as a psychiatric nurse in South London, but her two worlds were starting to collide. At a show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, a naked man was talking into an early mobile phone. Other people thought he was an art installation and left him to it; Brand recognised him as a previous patient. Eventually, in the late
job and get out again before you have even noticed. Steven Wright, the frizzy-haired writer and comedian, broke through in the early 1980s with a bottomless pit of understated absurdism delivered in a deadpan monotone. ‘You never know what you have until it’s gone, and I wanted to know what I had, so I got rid of everything.’ Wright heavily influenced the next generation of American stand-ups. The coolest name to drop if talking about one-liners is American cult hero Mitch Hedberg, who never
you tried to make a call, there would be someone on the line – comedians Arthur Smith and Mark Watson or writer Will Self – reading out a story. ID also organised a strictly one-off comical mystery tour, entitled By The Sea, during which fans were bussed out of the city to the town hall across the road from Portobello Beach, where they were entertained by the likes of Kevin Eldon, Josie Long and Daniel Kitson. ID didn’t set out to be a fashionable comedy club but its acts needed somewhere to