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Comedy - stand-up and comedian interviews, previews and profiles

Interview Dave Spikey

As he gets ready to call into the City Varieties, the Bolton comic tells Simon O'Hare how his frustration and amusement with the English language inspired his new show

Dave Spikey‘s new tour, which comes to the City Varieties this month, is called Words Don’t Come Easy. "Yeah. It’s not a great title for a comedy show is it really," he says. "Go on for two hours and stumble and mutter."

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, Spikey being one of those seasoned stand-ups who makes things look so deceptively easy. Not only that, but he clearly puts a hell of a lot of thought into the peculiarities of the English language when he writes his material. The new show actually evolved from a segment…

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Review Patrick Monahan – Hug Me I Feel Good

The Irish-Iranian stand-up impresses at the Bradford Alhambra Studio

From the moment that he bounds on to the stage, hugging practically the first four rows of the Alhambra Studio audience one by one, you know that Patrick Monahan is a little bit different.

Likeable, charismatic and as witty – if not more so – than many of the ‘top’ comedians, Monahan, the Irish/Iranian comic (raised in Teeside) had the wonderfully appreciative and varied audience in the palm of his hand – in fact, he could have played for another five hours and not lost his grip.

Monahan comes across like a slightly naughtier Peter Kay crossed with a…

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Interview Silky, Kill For A Seat

We catch up with the popular Leeds-based Liverpudlian exile, comic and promoter who plans to spend "more time making people laugh and less organising making people laugh"

Do you class Leeds as your home now?

Yeah, I’ve lived in Leeds for five years; I lived in York for a couple of years before that. I can’t see myself leaving Leeds, I’ve got no particular reason to, obviously unless those Russian mobsters catch up with me, and then I’m going to have to assume a totally new identity, and… but it’s the expense. So I try and keep a low profile, which explains the quality of my stand-up.


That’s good to hear – so you’re not going anywhere fast?

That’s very kind of you, thanks.



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Feature Leeds City Varieties Is Back!

We take a behind-the-scenes look at the stunning venue after its £9.9m refurbishment – and we're delighted to say this gem is perfectly polished up and ready for action

The City Varieties Musical Hall is back with a bang this autumn, with a whole host of new and exciting comedy, music and mayhem to celebrate its major refurbishment. The upgrade was funded in part by Leeds City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and through the hall’s own ‘regeneration’ project which has already raised over £1m.

Opened in 1865 above the Swan Inn, the City Varieties Music Hall has a fascinating history, with past performers including Charlie Chaplin and Harry Houdini, as well as many of the modern day stars of stand-up comedy. The building has adapted and changed over…

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Interview Alan Carr

Simon O'Hare meets TV's Chatty Man to discuss his childhood, birdwatching and his upcoming arena tour

Alan Carr is sitting in a secluded corner inside the fourth floor restaurant in Leeds’ Harvey Nichols while his beloved red setter enjoys some sun out on the balcony.

It’s the first time I’ve done an interview when the interviewee has brought their dog with them, but it’s a nice illustration of the ordinariness that has made Carr such a huge success. There’s no chance of forgetting we’re in celebrity company, though, as members of the public make unsubtle sideways glances towards our table while others try to get beyond his PR person to speak to the man himself. Carr…

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Interview Andi Osho

Simon O'Hare catches up with the fast-rising star as she takes Afroblighty – her debut solo tour – to Leeds on 23rd May

Currently starring in Channel 4’s ‘Stand Up For The Week’, Andi Osho has also appeared on various TV panel shows and put in a storming performance on ‘Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’ in the episode filmed last year at the Grand Theatre right here in Leeds. Osho started out as an actor and, as she reveals here, it’s an experience that’s served her well in stand-up. With an infectious stage presence and bags of talent, it’s a great opportunity to see her take to the stage at the HiFi Club.

How’s the tour going so far?
It’s going really well. It’s…

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Preview Kill For A Seat Comedy Nights

Some tasty stand-up treats are being served up by Leeds-based comedian Silky and his team this month

Leeds-based comedy promoters Kill for a Seat are going all out to tickle your funny bones this March. ‘Now Show’ favourite Mitch Benn will be showcasing his unique brand of satirical songsmithery at Boston Spa Village Hall on 18th March with hosts Ray Peacock and Silky. Tickets have already sold out for this one, so you’ll have to beg, borrow or steal to get in.

Then 20th March sees the much-loved Courtyard Comedy Club return to West Yorkshire Playhouse, with a visit from the deranged Markus Birdman. The entertaining Birdman’s past shows have covered everything from alternative autobiography…

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Interview Tom Wrigglesworth

The Yorkshireman tells Simon O'Hare about his new stand-up show, which he's bringing to Leeds and Harrogate

With a name like Tom Wrigglesworth, you might say he was born to go into comedy. But the Sheffield-born comic admits it wasn’t so much a lifelong ambition as merely succumbing to the bullying of friends and well-wishers. “I kind of just got fed up with people going ‘you should try that’, you know, at parties and stuff like that, people banging on at me all the time. So I did, I just thought ‘alright I’ll have a go’, just to shut people up really.” And he was so successful that he’s barely had time to sit back and take…

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Interview Mik Artistik

The artist-musician-comedian talks about his life in Leeds

“I was born in Ireland, Irish Catholic, west of Ireland. My dad was a labourer, musician, flute player, and he played bagpipes as well, the Irish pipes. So there was lots of music in the house. We moved over here in 1960. Arrived in Armley, Tong Road, we were in this tiny little back-to-back, and I’d never seen so many bloody cars in my life, never seen as much grey and black and dirt. There was no grass; I got such a shock. There was no grass. And it was scary really, just very, very dark and grey.

“I left…

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Interview Mark Thomas

The comedian and political campaigner's new show is about the time he spent walking along the Israeli Separation Barrier around the West Bank. Here he tells Simon O'Hare about the experience

“Actually there was a few times when I was terrified,” reflects Mark Thomas. “When we got stoned by Palestinian kids at one place, that was really, really frightening. Other places where for moments you just glimpsed the possibility of something going out of control, that was quite frightening. And occasionally we got stopped by the Israeli army it was mildly terrifying.”

Thomas is telling me about the nine weeks he spent walking along the Israeli Separation Barrier. As you do. The barrier is being constructed by Israel around the West Bank with the aim – its supporters say – of…

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