Best of Brighton’s Comedy this October

Looking for a laugh? Here are the highlights of Brighton’s comedy circuit this month.

Sun 2 Oct

Reacting to arts funding cuts, education reform and bridging the social divide, Joanna Neary does Animals and Men features stand up with ludicrous impressions, an ill-advised dance, a celebration of art, education and lamps! Apparently as a baby, Joanna was dropped on her head and stolen from outside Coventry Library. She started work aged 12, picking moss on Bodmin Moor for a pervert. She avoided getting beaten up by pretending to be French and dislikes bags that look like bums. At her polytechnic, Joanna paid by cheque for a Pot Noodle. I’m sure what any of that has to do with the show, but I’m confident we’ll find out. Maybe.

Mon 3 Oct
The Old Market

From the brain that brought you millionaire cats eating Viennetta, gypsy cuddles and nanna wanks comes a brand-spanking new hour of mind-blending internal self-hatred, paranoia and comedy (because you know, it has to be funny if you’re going to call yourself a comedian). Sam Simmons bringing his new show Not A People Person to The Old Market.

Dubbed one of the most riotously enjoyable hours at the Fringe, Sam Simmons’ shows are a knowing mix of funny, daft and daring, earning him sell-out runs at every major comedy festival and sought after awards in both Edinburgh and Melbourne last year. If quirky humour is your garb, you can’t do much better than this.

Fri 7 Oct
Assembly Hall, Worthing

The master of tongue-in-cheek humour, Jimmy Carr returns to Worthing with his astonishingly vast repertoire, delivered in lightning-sharp fashion honed from 15 years at the top of the comedy circuit.

One of the most prolific joke-tellers of recent times, Carr is gathering a selection of his very best jokes along with brand new material for the ultimate comedy show, vowing to leave a trail of laughter in his wake. Unsurprisingly, he’s already won the British Comedy Award for Best Live Stand-Up Tour and been nominated for the Perrier Award, amongst countless others. Now all that experience is being put to good use, prepare to be simultaneously shocked and delighted by all his greatest material in one show; this is the very best of Jimmy Carr.

Sun 9 Oct

Ahir Shah wants to believe in a future where democracy flourishes, technology liberates us from work, and we all get to rub our bellies in satisfaction at a job well done. However, he’s also feeling powerless to enact change – alienated from his fellow lefties, he’s increasingly anxious about the state of the world. He’s got a lot of concerns. Fortunately, they’re super funny.

Shah’s Machines tour promises a stand-up show about the uses and dangers of utopianism in a complex, fractured world. With his previous show, Distant, originally performed at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe, and a tour around the UK, Paris, and Australia – along with his TV and radio performances – Shah has done more than enough to pinpoint himself as one to watch.

Weds 12 Oct

In 2015, the rather wonderful Ms Ward wrote a show about mental illness and her bum-hole (well IBS really, but that’s not what she told us). Much to her surprise more people saw it than her immediate family and a guy called Gavin. At Edinburgh Fringe it was the third-best reviewed comedy show (out of roughly 3,000 shows). Always one to flog a dead horse, she now brings us another warm and witty show about mental illness – 50% More Likely to Die. Engaging, sharp and relentlessly upbeat, Ward has appeared on The John Bishop Show, Russell Howard’s Good News, Live from the BBC, Josh and been heard on The Museum of Curiosity.

Weds 12 Oct

Generally accepted as the nicest person in Hove, after we’ve told people repeatedly, Zoe Lyons is ready to unleash her new show – Little Misfit. It follows a year that’s seen her appear on Live at the Apollo, The John Bishop Show and win the Chortle Best Comic Award. Not bad for a girl who never really felt part of the gang. She was the awkward gay kid at school with a different accent and quite a severe bout of alopecia. It’s never easy to fit in if you’re sporting a comb-over and harbouring secret desires for Charlie’s Angels. But now she’s reached a point when the thought of actually fitting in is utterly terrifying…

Fri 14 Oct

Back with an extraordinarily bodacious and ballsy look at her battle with breast cancer, Beth Vyse arrives in Brighton to drop the big C with aplomb, stepping over boundaries most would be only too shy to (but then she’s never really had much time for the expected).

Hear the Barry Awards nominee’s tale of her Stoke-on-Trent family, the Waltons on alcohol, her time with Nelson Mandela, acting and thieving at the Royal Shakespeare Company, settling down with Michael Jackson and finding cancer (not to mention producing two football teams from her womb). A powerhouse of high energy, Vyse has certainly fit a lot of hilarious anecdotes into her 30-something years.

Mon 17 Oct

Following in the footsteps of the great Radio X podcasts of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, Russell Brand and Adam & Joe, cult comedy duo Elis James and John Robins come to Brighton as part of their 20-date 2016 tour, The Elis James & John Robins Experience.

Stars of their own Chortle Award nominated Radio X weekend show, the pair have created their own world full to the brim with James/Robins-isms. Do you know the meaning of PDC? One-er? Son of a coin? If not, prepare to learn all of these and more in their show at the Komedia. Expect ‘sacred cows’ deemed too obscure for broadcast, textual healing live, and maybe even a new chapter of A Robins Amongst The Pigeons.

Tues 18 Oct
Brighton Dome

With a brand new show exploring the rationality of his worldview, Romesh Ranganathan is back! Irrational will see him examine the issues close to his heart, and explains why everybody else is wrong about them. The last few years have been incredible for Ranganathan. His two critically acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe shows nominated for coveted Edinburgh Awards, this new show promises to be every bit as much of a hit. Since quitting a promising career as a maths teacher, he’s made a name for himself on the small-screen with appearances on Jack Dee’s HelpDesk, Have I Got News For You and The Apprentice: You’re Fired. But now he’s out and about, reminding us all that he does have legs.

Thurs 20 Oct

This month the multi-award-winning star of numerous TV shows and his own cult Radio 4 series tells us I’m Not Here. The follow-up to his highly celebrated and successful Flaws show, it offers another great slab of properly funny comedy.

A seemingly minor problem at an airport is the starting point for a spiralling examination of identity in the digital age. As well as Watson’s customary flailing, chaotic audience interactions and all sorts of fun, there’s also an enormous number of jokes. What he is sublime at is delving into his own personality, circumstance and hang-ups for devastating comic effect. Accomplished and talented, Watson is always a must-see.

Weds 26 Oct
The Old Market

If you like your comedy with a bit of a twist, and have a bit of a fondness for live game shows (The Crystal Maze, anyone?), head down to The Old Market for WiFi Wars. Hosted by comedian and regular video game commentator Steve McNeil, the show was first performed as part of the Royal Institution’s 2015 Summer Programme. Fast forward to now, and WiFi Wars has gained a sort of mass following, with the Guardian, Time Out and Metro all singing their praises for the show. The process is simple: armed with a smartphone or tablet (and hopefully a full battery), visitors can compete in a range of games, quizzes and challenges to win the show – and big prizes.

Thurs 27 Oct
Rialto Theatre

Best known for reimagining the legacies of greats such as Marilyn Monroe and Amy Winehouse, Rialto’s resident Laura Nixon is back to launch her brand new stand up cabaret. Combining cutting-edge comedy with killer vocals and special guests from the international cabaret scene, Nixon explores a celebration of the evil world of fashion, modern life and the sins we all share.

Appearing in countless shows and marketing campaigns across the continent (most notably British Airways and Chrysler), Nixon has spent over a decade performing a truly sensual Monroe from Brighton to Bulgaria, capturing the superstar’s iconic allure effortlessly. While we’re used to seeing her in glamourous 50s getup, we’re excited to see what she has in store for her latest outing…

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