Main content

Tagged with: comedy

Posts (53)

  1. Welcome to 2015

    Steve Austins

    Editor, BBC Radio Wales

    Welcome to 2015

    A day with the orchestra, Caradoc Evans and the greatest Welshman never heard of. Radio Wales Editor Steve Austins picks his highlights for the first week of 2015

    Read more

  2. Producing Passing On - BBC Radio Wales' new sitcom

    Ben Partridge

    Pyle Industrial Estate is an industrial estate par excellence. Distinguished in the world of industrial estates, it is known the world over as a white-hot forge of small-to-medium sized enterprises, where the toil that greases the gears of 21st century capitalism coats every surface.

    Read more

  3. Venue Cymru to host Wales’ first comedy writing conference

    Polly March

    Next month sees Wales’ first-ever comedy writing conference aimed at inspiring the next generation of creators to pen more hilarious hits like Peep Show, Miranda and Fresh Meat.

    Read more

  4. Boutique comedy festival promises laughter in sweetshops and on steam trains

    Polly March

    Now in its fourth year, the Machynlleth Comedy Festival is the little success story which has well and truly put mid-Wales on the comedy circuit.

    Read more

  5. Newport ready for third comedy festival

    Polly March

    An eclectic mix of talent will descend on Newport next week as the annual Comedy Port festival gets underway.

    Read more

  6. Comedy Festival to take place in Llandudno this weekend

    Polly March

    Comedians Phill Jupitus, Arthur Smith, Marcus Brigstocke, Stephen K Amos and David Sedaris are just some of the acts taking part in a charity comedy festival in north Wales this weekend.

    Read more

  7. Bennett Arron - Wales' Kosher Comedian

    Laura Chamberlain

    Bennett Arron is the only Welsh/Jewish comedian on the circuit. (At least it says so on his website.) The stand-up comedian from Port Talbot stars in New Wales, the new series from BBC Cymru Wales.

    Read more

  8. Elis James: "Mach Festival is one of my favourite things in the world"

    James Roberts

    Comedian Elis James is one of the most promising emerging acts on the Welsh comedy scene at the moment - although 'emerging' may be the wrong adjective, as he's become such a familiar voice on BBC Radio Wales of late. Elis has enjoyed recent success with Pantheon Of Heroes, a mixture of sketch show and stand-up that was co-written with fellow comedian Ben Partridge. He also regularly collaborates with Chris Corcoran for the theatre show The Committee Meeting and on Social Club FM, again for Radio Wales. I caught up with Elis ahead of his stints at the Machynlleth Comedy Festival this weekend, and the forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe, and threw a couple of questions his way. Elis James at the 2011 Machynlleth Comedy Festival. Photo: Ed Moore, Edshots How is life at The Social Club? The Social Club currently has one customer, who is drinking tap water and using the radiators to dry his anorak but Rex used to babysit him in the 40s so he doesn't mind. Rex is very well - he's just finished cleaning out the lines and is about the change the gearbox on the club minibus, before tarmacking the drive and duplicating some ledger books from 1967 "just in case". How did 2011 go for you? Highlights and lowlights? The highlight was getting Pantheon Of Heroes and Social Club FM commissioned by Radio Wales and being asked to go on Eight Out Of Ten Cats, the lowlights were having my body described as "laughable" when I took my top off on a stag do in Liverpool and getting a new coat stolen from a nightclub. Elis James with Pantheon of Heroes collaborators Ben Partridge and Nadia Kamil You'll be making a return to the Edinburgh Festival this summer. Do you feel like part of the furniture? I've actually taken shows to Edinburgh every year since 2008, but with 2,500 shows at the festival and over 20,000 performers, it would be very difficult to describe myself as part of the furniture. I do know Edinburgh very well though; it's one of the few cities that I would recognize instantly if I woke up there having been kicked out of the back of a Transit van. General plans for Edinburgh? Chris Corcoran and I are performing The Committee Meeting every day at the Underbelly at 1.30pm, and then I'm doing a solo stand up show at The Baby Grand in the Pleasance at 7pm. My general plan is to not gain too much weight by drinking real ale at four in the morning - I have a wedding to go to a few weeks after the festival finishes and I won't be able to afford a new suit. With such a successful presence on BBC Wales, is it extra work being a London-based comic, performing in Wales as well to a different audience? A huge amount of travel is a part of what I do, so in the main living in London is slightly more convenient, although working so closely with Chris means I'm in Cardiff all the time anyway. I loved writing for Radio Wales and they're programmes I'm immensely proud of, but the best thing about writing is that you can do it anywhere. My favourite writing session for Pantheons was in Ben Partridge's parents' house, where the session was bookended by us laughing at photos of Ben as a child while his mum made us toast and tried to explain some of his haircuts. You'll be performing in Swansea on May 18. Do you enjoy coming "home" to perform? I love performing gigs in south Wales, especially south west Wales, but not Carmarthen - the last time I did that the venue was flooded with my aunties and uncles which I found very weird. Swansea is perfect because I can still talk about the area I grew up in but it's just far enough from home to stop any second cousins turning up and threatening to dob me in for swearing. That's the first time I've used the phrase 'dob me in' since 1989. It felt good. You are performing at the Mach Comedy Festival this weekend. Tell us a bit about the festival and what we can expect from you. The Machynlleth Comedy Festival is one of my favourite things in the world - it's a truly wonderful line up and the organisers should be proud of it. Elis James performing at Machynlleth in 2011. Photo: Ed Moore, Edshots The atmosphere's great and the audiences are lovely; they understand that most of the comics are gearing up for Edinburgh so don't mind if you take a sneaky peek at your notebook halfway through the performance. My parents went last year and my mum described it as "the best weekend of her life," so you can't say any more than that. Thankfully my girlfriend is more organized than me and has sorted us a B&B, because otherwise I'd be sleeping in the car. I'm about as suited to camping as Hermann Göring was to HR.

    Read more

  9. Henry Widdicombe on the 2012 Machynlleth Comedy Festival

    Laura Chamberlain

    The Machynlleth Comedy Festival may only be in its third year but its popularity among comedians and visitors alike is already well established. Henry Widdicombe at the 2011 festival Described recently on Twitter as a "boutique comedy weekend", the Mach festival has attracted some of the most high-profile performers over the last couple of years. Perhaps surprisingly, given the size of the small but perfectly formed mid-Wales town. I spoke to one of the festival directors, Henry Widdicombe, about this year's festival which begins tomorrow. Half past four on a dreary afternoon was, I grant you, not an ideal time for an interview chat but Widdicombe's enthusiasm for the festival, and for Machynlleth in particular, shone through. "We've achieved something quite special, I think," he said. "The main thing for us is that we've achieved what we wanted - to create somewhere where comics actually want to play, to come and spend time. "When you're at the festival you see the performers arriving on the Friday and some of them are still around when we're doing our wrap-up meeting with all the volunteers on the Monday!" Many faces on the 2012 line-up will be familiar to previous audiences, with the likes of Elis James, Josie Long, Isy Suttie and Jon Richardson all having performed before at the festival. Widdicombe said: "We do have a lot of returning people, with new shows, but I think we represent what we feel is exciting right now on the live comedy circuit and it would be a shame not to bring them back." Josie Long, who returns to Machynlleth this weekend, performing at the 2011 festival. Photo: Ed Moore, Edshots The Machynlleth Comedy Festival was born out of a desire to give comedy in Wales a wider base outside of the major cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. "We started running gigs in Brecon, Hay-on-Wye, Abergavenny in around 2008," said Widdicombe. "We wanted to do things outside of the cities, in rural areas, and I've been in love with Machynlleth for a long time; I love the mix of population in the community there. I'd always be there looking at the venue spaces they have in this tiny town, and I felt that something was waiting to happen there as it's such a glorious place. "We looked at festivals we liked such as Green Man, Hay, Brecon Jazz - all of the small Welsh market towns. We got a small grant from Powys County Council in 2010, which meant that we had to pick a town in Powys but I would have picked it anyway! The plan was always for Machynlleth." The festival enjoys a good relationship with the local businesses in the town, which Widdicombe calls 'a hidden gem' countless times during our chat. As people buy individual tickets to the shows there's no accurate way of working out the official visiting figures, but he estimates that about 500 people turned up for the first event, 1,000 attended last year's festival and they're expecting 2,000 visitors this year. To put that into perspective, that's near enough the resident population of the town. "Our stats do show that 50% have come from over 100 miles away, whereas a quarter have come from within 10 miles, so it's a nice mix of us bringing people into the area while also having the locals come to the show." With its growing popularity you could easily envisage the festival losing the 'boutique' element and community feel, should the organisers choose to cash in with hiked ticket prices and more events crammed into the days. However, this doesn't register anywhere near Widdicombe's radar. "What we've tried to do from the beginning is disassociate the process from the money. It's far more important for us to create something that's special, that people go to and feel that they've stumbled across something really amazing. "I don't think we'll go beyond a certain number; we've no intention as a festival to keep putting tents in field and growing it to a massive scale, it's more about maintaining what is so good about it." Elis James in 2011. Photo: Ed Moore, Edshots Festival organisers are keen to start developing the family and children's events at the festival. This year they include a clown called George Orange with his show Man On The Moon plus James Acaster Babysits, a "festival highlight" according to Widdicombe. I asked him for more for his festival highlights: "I look at the Saturday night line-up and you've got Isy Suttie, Jon Richardson, Jarred Christmas - you could go to any of those and have a wonderful time. But for me it's always about the really exciting acts that are breaking through that you might not have heard of yet. They're always the ones worth seeing. "There's a sketch show called Sheeps who are incredible, James Acaster's new material has just blown me away and then there's people like David Trent and Nathaniel Metcalfe that are exciting emerging acts who are going to Edinburgh for their first year. "I think it's far more exciting going away from a festival having found someone that you can get on board with early and watch their careers flourish." The 2012 Machynlleth Comedy Festival runs this weekend, from Friday 4 May to Sunday 6 May. Visit machcomedyfest.co.uk for more details and for the latest ticket availability. BBC Radio will be broadcasting from the event, with Radio Wales' Jamie and Louise live from the festival on Friday 4 May and Radio 4 Extra's Comedy Club also broadcasting from the festival.

    Read more

  10. Comics join forces for 'Comedy and Cwtshes' evening

    Polly March

    Wednesday sees St Dwynwen's Day in Wales, when the country's patron saint of lovers is honoured and people make their romantic intentions, requited or otherwise, known to one another. Following that theme, on Friday comedian Phil Evans is hosting a night of stand-up involving seven other artists at the Pontardawe Arts Centre. Comedian Phil Evans The event is to raise money for the Follow Your Dreams charity, and support their work with children with learning disabilities throughout south Wales. The charity raises awareness and helps young people with learning disabilities to realise their full potential or special dream within sport, art, music, drama and ICT. As they grow older, they are also helped on the road to a career and learn to prepare themselves for adulthood, with the aim of living independently and securing employment. "It's a great cause and a great occasion," said Phil, who is a warm-up comedian for TV shows on BBC, S4C and ITV. "St Dwynwen's Day is on 25 January, so we may be a couple of days later celebrating it, but better late than never. I've hand-picked a team of seven other Welsh comedians for this show, so laughs are guaranteed." Joining him on stage will be other BBC names including reviewer and presenter Gary Slaymaker, BBC Radio Cymru presenter Daniel Glyn and actress and writer Eirlys Bellin. Alan Wightman, Matt Steel, Geraint Evans and Ignacio Lopez will also bring their unique blends of comedy to the fore on the night. The theme of the evening is 'relationships' which follows on from St Dwynwen's Day and it has a parental advisory of "mature content" so children under 16 will not be admitted. Evans is adamant that the Welsh for hug should always be spelled cwtsh rather than cwtch. The word is said to be one of the nation's favourites and has been adopted by many in the cross-over language of Wenglish, particularly popular in the south Wales valleys. Comedy and Cwtshes is on Friday 27 January, 7pm to 9.30pm at the Pontardawe Arts Centre, Herbert Street, Pontardawe, Swansea. Tickets are £10 and can be bought via boxoffice.npt.gov.uk.

    Read more