However that task has just been made far more accomplishable, as next week – which we’ve decided to extravagantly call the ‘ultimate week of comedy’ – marks the release of an incredible 10 stand up comedians’ live DVDs and Blu-rays, all hitting our (mostly virtual) shelves on November 18th, and where better to begin your festive shopping than with comedy? So, we here at HeyUGuys have taken it upon ourselves to give you the low-down on what’s coming out, and help you decide what to give that bloody cousin for Christmas.
We begin this lecture (yes, this is a lecture) with the ever unconventional Bill Bailey, who presents his live tour Qualmpeddler. The tour – which culminates in a huge show on November 29 at London’s Wembley Arena, continues to mark the brilliance of this offbeat comedian, who delicately, yet intelligently, mixes between stand-up and catchy musical numbers, in a surrealistic and unique fashion. Having spent some time in Malaysia, Indonesia and China – he seems to have returned in good form, blending his political satire with downright absurdity, in the only way he knows how, whilst also bringing anecdotes from his time away (including a memorable tale about an owl) and implementing them effortlessly into his act. There’s something of a confessional tone to his latest show, making it feel somewhat more intimate than we’ve seen before. Perhaps he found himself in South East Asia.
From one quirky comedian to another, Ross Noble (affectionately described by The Daily Telegraph as a ‘wizard haired Geordie’) is back with Mindblender, his 9th live DVD. Noble is famed for his distinctive spontaneity and improvisation, with audience participation as prevalent as ever, as he bounces off the responses of the unsuspecting auditorium. Impulsive and abstract, Noble was once named in the top 10 of a Channel 4 poll of stand up comedians. Well, he’s made our top 10 comedians bringing out a DVD on the 18th of November. It’s just accolade after accolade with him.
Arguably the most established of those bringing out a live DVD this winter, is Eddie Izzard, with his latest endeavour Force Majeure, a tour which saw the immensely witty comedian perform across 25 different countries – the biggest to have ever been undertaken. Though some critics may say this isn’t of his usual high standard – anything Izzard touches tends to be a safe bet and his status as a national treasure is a given (he’s even considering running for London Mayor). The expression “force majeure” is a French term which can mean one of three things: ‘superior force’, ‘chance occurrence’ and ‘unavoidable accident’, and it’s safe to say that the former seems the most applicable to this exceptional talent.
Next up on our hit-list is Jack Dee, who Vic Reeves once described as having a face like a ‘neglected radish’. It’s all water off a duck’s back with Dee, and his aptly titled ‘So What?’ live DVD epitomises such a stance. His renowned grumpy nature and deadpan persona may not make for a DVD you’d want to settle down and watch on Christmas evening, but certainly one to watch in the gloomy opening weeks of the new year. It’s been six years since his last tour, but we’re rather pleased the sarcastic Dee, with a face like a ‘sun-dried fart’ is back. If only for the numerous nicknames.
Also out is Sean Lock’s critically acclaimed Purple Van Man, which The Times described as being Lock ‘at his best’, as the 8 out of 10 Cats team captain presents a tour that is still going on today. However you’ll struggle to find tickets, given his popularity and total sell-outs, so if you want to see the Londoner in action – you’ll just have to buy the DVD. Meanwhile, the one, lone American in the bunch of comedians presenting their work on this momentous day is Reginald D. Hunter, with In the Midst of Crackers. Receiving a full five stars from The Times, this show is Hunter’s second live show to be released, and it comprises his ruminative, brooding style, as a man who enjoys a lengthy build up to an often penetrating punchline. Making a real name for himself in Britain, he remains as one of the most unpredictable comics working today.
And now we move to a couple of relative newcomers, as both Seann Walsh and close friend Josh Widdicombe release their anticipated debut DVDs, ‘Seann to be Wild’ and ‘And Another Thing…’, respectively. Walsh favours observational comedy, attempting to get his head around some of the world’s greatest, most common mysteries – like why ovens need a little window on the front, which, as he points out, allows for the food to have a nice view of the kitchen. He’s enthusiastic and charismatic and though this may just be his debut, it’s certainly signals a long and illustrious career to come. Much of the same can be said of Widdicombe, who’s certainly a lot funnier than namesake Ann. He too relies on observational humour, while taking a somewhat barbed look at the world, astutely scrutinising over the small, everyday annoyances we all have to endure on a daily basis.
Finally this brings us to our final two live shows to be released, one of which is Australian comic Adam Hills’ ‘Happyism’. The star of Channel 4’s The Last Leg, this Antipodean shines in his relaxed approach, taking a somewhat different take on life, managing to find the good in the world, rather than his bitter, moody, British predecessors who thrive on moaning and complaining all the time. Hills even recounts a tale of when he made the Dalai Lama laugh – and if it’s good enough for him, it’s sure to be a worthy gift this Christmas. To round off this comedy extravaganza and a day that will see fans across the country flocking to the local shops or updating their wish-list on Amazon, is the outrageous Roy Chubby Brown, who presents his latest live DVD Who Ate All the Pies? – a somewhat pertinent question at Christmas, as one we tend to all ask ourselves during this indulgent period. Rude and offensive, this comedian revels in telling blue jokes to his loyal audience of fans. This is, staggeringly, his 30th stand up DVD, after all.
Of course the introduction to the piece alluded to you buying gifts for others, but to be completely honest, there’s more than enough quality amongst this talented bunch to keep yourself happy. So pick a comedian (or two) and have a good laugh over the festive period, and trust us, there are many to be had amongst this eclectic range. Treat yourself. Go on, it’s Christmas.
Keep your eyes peeled as we’ll be posting our interviews with Bill Bailey and Seann Walsh very soon, to tie in with this ultimate week of comedy.