“I Hope You Get Cancer” – Frankie Boyle Live at New Theatre Oxford

WARNING: This post contains adult themes and explicit language

Now, let me start by stating the obvious, I don’t want anyone to get Cancer! But it certainly got your attention didn’t it? It also maybe gave you an indication of how “inappropriate” some of the content in this post may be. So if jokes about Cancer or AIDS or Pedophilia aren’t your bag, do us both a favour… Don’t read on… Because this review-of-sorts of Frankie Boyle’s ‘Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved‘ tour may not be for you…

Frankie Boyle, even at his most polite, isn’t a “family friendly” comic. This is a man who was banned by the BBC because he once said on stage “I thought the only way they’d let me back on the BBC was if I shagged a child” But despite not being as mass-marketable like others in his line of work, such as Michael McIntyre or John Bishop, Boyle is still very popular – A fact that was made very evident by the fact that despite being extremely politically incorrect, he sold out his show in Oxford. Even if it meant fans driving down from London or Redding or god knows where else, as many had seemed to have done.

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So Wrong it was Right: The Play That Goes Wrong (Duchess Theatre, London)

Today I caught the matinée show of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong‘ a brilliantly slap-stick comedy production, currently being staged at the Duchess Theatre in London’s West End. Offering a “play within a play” this play revolves around a disastrously comical (or should I say comically disastrous?) production of ‘A Murder at Haversham Manor’, being staged by the rather amusing (and so familiarly) amateurish the theatre troupe of the ‘Cornley Polytechnic’.

As a warm-up to the show, cast members, playing the crew, ran about the stage and bar area frantically trying to get the stage ready for the “grand opening” (a nervous energy I remember all too well from having staged a number of college performances). And while, running some 15 minutes, it may seem to drag on a bit, this little warm up was a great way to get the crowd ready for the antics and laughs soon to come.

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Joining the Tig Nation – Tig Notaro Live at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Okay I think a lot fewer people would have “the Mondays” if they managed to stat their week off the way I did – with a superb comedy gig. Stumbling about on LiveNation yesterday, hunting for some fun stuff to do while I’m in London, I came across a comedy gig by Tig Notaro (a known comic if you’re from the States, lesser so here in England or back home in India) and was delighted when there were still tickets available for the show. So of course I booked immediately!

Before I get into her set though, a few words about the support act – Matt Rees. In his own words, his set is all about junk food, sex and drinking – “Are you okay with that? Good. Coz that’s all there is.” I wasn’t familiar with Rees before yesterday, but I’d be happy to come to a show again. He dry humor and often deadpan delivery were a good match up for Tig Notaro’s style, though the content was far blue-er I suppose. If I had to describe him to my friends I’d say, “think Louis C.K meets Milton Jones” – funny, a bit crass, self-deprecating and with lots of confusingly humorous jokes.

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10 Ways to Enjoy London – No Money Down!

No one can argue with the fact that London is an expensive city – between rent, provisions, getting around and a couple of pints a week, it hard to find room in the budget for some fun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a bit easier if you’re a student. With an NUS Card, or even just your college ID, you have access to discounts at the Cinema, your local Grocery Store, Tourist attractions and many other places. But that will only get you so far won’t it? But have no fear, my dear, there are ways to circumvent a lack of cask flow. If you do your research and plan right, you can have a fun or culture filled day, without spending a penny. Here’s 10 ways to help you start:

1. Visit a Museum/Gallery: London has several wonderful museums. From the expansive Museum of Natural History (that’s one of my favorites – I spent the entire day there once – They even have an animatronic T-Rex!) to the National Gallery or the Tate Modern. You can get your fill of History, Technology or Art, just for the cost of bus/tube fare. Here’s Time Out magazine’s list of museums you can visit for free – Museums in London. But remember to check ahead, there may be admission for particular exhibits/attractions.

2. Check out a TV Show taping: I went for a taping once for a BBC Show. It was quite a great experience. It’s amazing to see just how they film an ensemble comedy (and how many times you have to laugh at the same joke ; p). But you might be more inclined to check out a News Show or maybe a Quiz? Who knows, if they have audience participation you may even get your 15 minutes of fame. Apply now and go watch TV being made at the BBC – BBC Tapings

3. Take A Walking Tour: There are several exciting walking tours you can take in London. You can get entails on any hostel site or on Time Out. Most of them cost a few quid though. However, Sandemans New Europe does FREE tours of London every day. That’s right, it’s absolutely free. You’re welcome to tip your guide at the end, but that’s on you. You can book the tour for any number of people, so whether you’re on your own, with a few friends, or taking the entire extended family (that’s a lot of people if you’re Indian like me ; p), it’s all good! Book Now

4. Check out the Street Markets: There are some fantastic street markets to check out in the city. While they all tend to have the standard tourist goods, like Bobby Hats, Sunglasses or Fedoras, they also have their own uniqueness. For example, the Portobello Road Market is rather known for having quant antique shops and even stalls where people sell some really cool old stuff. Camden Town is another well-known market, the down side of course is that it’s a perfect tourist trap. Still, it has some nice cafes and stalls that are worth checking out, even if you don;t buy any of that rubbish. If you’re a foodie you should definitely check out Borough Market. It has a reputation as one of the best food markets in the city and you can find choice local and international produce.

5. Catch a free Concert: There are many venues throughout the city where you can sit and enjoy an evening of music with your mates. If you’re into rock I would suggest one of the many pubs in Camden Town, where there are regularly local bands playing in the evenings and entry is usually free before 10-11 PM. If you’d like to enjoy something a bit more classical head over to The National Theatre where they regularly have free events open to the general public, first come first served of course. Another option is for you to check out the Royal College of Music. All of their events, unless stated otherwise, are free.

6. A Free Comedy Gig: There are dozens of comedy clubs in the capital (Alliteration. Love it!) that host free nights. They feature regular local comics as well as new comers and fresh faces. So check out Angel Comedy in Camden Walk, which features the best of the open mic circuit as well as a professional headliner. Or check out the various free shows offered by The Comedy Bin.

7. Visit A Park: If you find yourself experiencing a beautiful sunny day (they’re rare, but they do happen), you might want to get out and take in the green. So why not visit one of the exquisite, and for the most part, massive parks in and around London. They are beautifully maintained, with mini-attractions like play areas, statues and carved shrubs and some even have some wildlife. You may have to rent a car or take a bus to some of them, but a day out of the city might be just what the doctor ordered, because trust me, if there’s sun, Londoners will flock to the Parks to get some much-needed Vitamin D. Here’s Time Out’s helpful list of London’s Major Parks.

8. Star Gaze: Head on over to the Astronomy Centre, located in the Royal Observatory to see the history of the universe in 4 minutes or touch 4.5 billion year old meteorite (yes you can actually touch it!). The Astronomy Centre and galleries are open daily from 10 to 5 and admission is free.

9. Watch A Movie: There are quiet a few organizations that organize free film screenings on a regular basis/hand out free tickets to screenings in the city. You just have to do your homework and be quick, and a little bit lucky. The Radio Station LBC 97.3 FM hands out tickets for monthly screenings by its LBC Film Club. In the past they’ve done popular titles such as The Hangover, Frost/Nixon and RocknRolla. So check back regularly. Or sign up to Free Movies UK to get the chance to attend preview screenings of new movies at your local cinema.

10. Explore: Last but not least, just get off your butt and walk around. There are so many beautiful and breathtaking sights to see in London. Some might have an admission cost to see the inside, but they are beautiful to look at even if you don’t go in. Go see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace; see St. Paul’s Cathedral; walk along the river Thames; go visit Shakespeare’s Globe. There’s literally no end to the things you can see.

Well I hope this small, but nowhere close to exhaustive, list of things helps some of you branch out and load up on some fun, without putting any additional drain on your purse strings. I hope you’ll buy me a pint one day with the additional beer money ; )

There’s No Candlelight Vigils For Dead 50 Year Old Fat Guys

WARNING: This post includes mature language and some obscene references. If you are not of suitable age or likely to be offended by graphic imagery please do not read on.

I’ve been watching Louis CK’s shows for years now. I even watched every single episode of his TV Series “Louie”. Frankly, I love the guy. So when I heard this amazing stand up comedian from New York was playing London I absolutely flipped! And I was so psyched when I managed to get some tickets to his show at the Hammersmith Apollo – I’ve written about this venue before – it really is one of my favorite venues in the city.

You know how when you build something up in your head it can disappoint you when it actually happens in real life? Well this was NOT one of those cases. I was literally in tears within minutes of him starting his set. I mean there’s something about his delivery and his material that you don’t really need to be eased into it. No warm up act – just him walking onto stage and starting with the hilarity. For the first 20 minutes or so I couldn’t really believe I was actually there watching him live. It felt surreal. I guess to some extent my brain still thinks like I’m in India. Just a year ago I couldn’t have even imagined I would be watching one of my favorite comics live!

I’d like to tell you that you should all go as a family and watch him, but that might leave me liable for seriously traumatizing your children. Louis CK comes off as a really nice guy, but his jokes are really rather crude and make you cringe (while at the same time laughing your ass off). There literally seems to be NOTHING that is off-limits – Parents murdering their children, celebrating in a Cancer ward, Slavery… At one point he actually mimed a handjob – to completion! My friend, who accompanied me to the show, compared him to Jimmy Carr. I would make the distinction that while Jimmy Carr comes off as horrible person, Louis CK is more like a nice guy who says some genuinely horrible things.

But to be fair, he rips on himself as much as he goes after anyone else. You have to love how confidently he walks onto stage and calls himself a fat useless fuck – thus the title of the post. I loved one bit where he said if you’re an unattractive young guy, don’t worry, it gets better. You just have to wait for her circumstances to match your ugliness. As long as you’re relatively well employed and bath once in a while, apparently you’ll be fine – (in his words) Pussy+Time/Income Squared

I have to admit, once in a while I have some pretty fucked up thoughts in my head too (Too bad I chose to be a lawyer instead of a stand up comic). But, in the words of the wise and masterfully funny Louis CK, “It’s okay to have bad thoughts. As long as the good thoughts win.”

“Racism is better than Astrology”

Now before you go attacking me and jumping down my throat, let me put that heading into context. It was one many hilarious punch-lines/key phrases during “Craic Dealer” the marvelously funny show by comedian Dara O’ Briain at the Hammersmith Apollo. I won’t go into details about the specific joke or others, if you’re interested you should buy the DVD, or torrent a copy of the show if you’re so inclined.

(DISCLAIMER: The author of this blog does not condone and/or encourage illegal downloading/willful copyright infringement – Right well, now that that’s out of the way lets move on)

Dara is a wonderful comic. Most of his material is fairly family friendly, as he pointed out to the mom, sitting next to my friend and I, with her two kids. His style is conservational and he generally comes off as a comic who genuinely likes to include his audience in the act. I’ve been following him for a few years now and it was a great experience to finally see him live after watching and re-watching his earlier shows. Suffice to say I was NOT disappointed. In the some hour and 45 minutes of show time (excluding the interval) I don’t think I went more than 10 seconds at a time without laughing my lungs out. At one point I literally had to take my glasses off to wipe the tears from my eyes. Those of you who have not had a chance to check him out, I earnestly recommend you do. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

I am actually a huge fan of stand up comedy. Though I haven’t had much opportunity to see many big names (after this gig it makes three – the last two being Russell Peters and Rob Schneider) there is a lot of fun to be had going to amateur nights at smaller comedy clubs, and its a lot friendlier wallet wise, which is important if you’re a student. You should check out timeout for an excellent guide to free comedy nights all over the city. I personally recommend the Comedy Cafe or the Camden Head. Who knows, you may just watch the debut of a young comic who goes on to be the next big thing!

I would be remiss if I didn’t throw in a few words here about the venue itself – The Hammersmith Apollo on Queen Caroline Street in Hammersmith. It’s been around since the 1960s and has seen performances by the likes of Johnny Cash, Queen, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, KISS and countless other legends. Its humbling to think that the stage I was but mere feet away from held such unbelievable talent. And next week it will witness me yelling my lungs out at Tenacious D. Truly I am blessed!

(On a side note: Since the gig is still fresh in my memory, I’ve been speaking these words out in my head in an Irish accent the entire time I’ve been typing, which has made it even more fun to write ; p)

Try re-reading it the same way. Trust me its entertaining. : )