JASON KAVAN Unfunny, opinionated ramblings O

Tough Crowd is a great title for a show, but you know it's going to be a long hour when the first gag of the night is an attempted cheeky chuckle at date rape. Jason Kavan is a nice man with nice teeth, and we want him to be funny. But he's not and sadly this isn't a show; it's clunky, awkward, embarrassingly cobbled- together material, which feels like he’s just jotted down a few bad gags on the back of a fag packet on the way to the venue. In between the empty silences when there eventually are gags, the punchline is pretty much coming over the hill waving.

It is all rather like watching the bloke at work who is under the sad delusion that he's hilarious. Unstructured, unfunny, opinionated ramblings, not so much making your toes curl but your legs bend. I've never wanted a fire alarm to go off so much in my life. (Jill Peacock)

I Sweet Teviot Place. 0870 247 Oi 36, until 24 Aug (not 73, 20). 9.05pm, E 7 (E6).


Do mention the war .00

Of all the shows you don't want (or expect) to run late. surer 7000 Years of German Humour is that show. After a five-minute delay, likeable comic Henning Wehn assures us that it’s not going to be 1000 years in real time before beginning a ramshackle guide to the unique traits of a phenomenon us Brits presumed non-

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existent: German humour. Ushering us through the centuries are the laconic Wehn (a familiar figure on the UK circuit) and Otto Kuhnle, a

5 3 walking, talking. yodelling Teutonic

stereotype, from the lederhosen up. He provides the musical slapstick, while When riffs on all things Deutsche, from the Grimm fairy tales to footballing success. And he does mention the war. A lot.

While an hour in the company of these jesters is a surreal pleasure, some of the physical skits are rather juvenile and passe. lt's Wehn's observations that make it all worthwhile and prove that German humour does exist and it's very. very dry. (Nick Mitchell)

I Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug, 6.40pm, 2950—27 0.50 ($850—$950).


US comic mines the land of the free 000

When you see Jeff Kreisler at work, armed with the knowledge that he has won something called the Bill Hicks Spirit Award, it can occasionally cross your mind that he scooped the thing for getting the mannerisms of the dead Southern stand-up/preacher down to a fine art.

5 What he really claimed was a gong

for Thought-Provoking Comedy and there‘s no doubt that you have to keep up with the comic to get some of his gags.

War, religion and politics were ripe areas which Hicks mined and Kreisler knows where to pick a punchline whether it's at the expense of McCain, Hillary or Bush (‘who was his Spiritual advisor: Jim Beam?) It does leave you wondering just where on earth Kreisler and his US ilk will turn to for material once Bush has left the White House and the US presidential race has crossed the finishing line. (Brian Donaldson)

I The Stand I// 8 IV. 558 7272, until 24 Aug (not 77), 6. 70pm, £7 (£6).


ROY WALKER The King of deadpan says what he sees .00

The crappy pixels. Mr Chips. The triumphal opening strains and the arrangements accompanying each clue. Who could forget Catchphrase, one of the most durable game shows of its generation, as famous for all of the above as for host Roy Walker’s own memorable patter: ‘say what you see’, ‘keep pressing and guessing!’ With an impressive comedy career under his belt before hosting that show for 14 years, Walker is making his Fringe debut with Goodbye Mr Chips, a symbol of his cult resurrection thanks to Chris Moyles’ fond Radio 1 tribute, ‘Car Park Catchphrase'.

At 68-years-old, he receives a legend’s welcome. Sharply besuited in pinstripes, his shock of white hair as luxurious as ever, he is plainly delighted to be here. Entering to that famous voice-over (‘your host for tonight is Royyyy Walkerl’), to a stage excitingly replete with the Catchphrase board, the bounce in his stride belies his oft wooden presence on camera. He is though, as ever, the consummate host: comfortable, genial and gentlemanly.

His opening banter comprises miscellaneous yarns, ever the storyteller, before segueing into remembrances of things past in the form of a slide show. His upbringing in war-torn Belfast, scrapes and subsequent rise to game-show stardom are interesting and smattered with gentle funnies, but such trips down memory lane are a tad self-indulgent and slow the pace. A round of Catchphrase ensues to the joy of all, with prizes aplenty. Languorous pauses, soft-spoken tones and air of astounded humility, Roy Walker’s comedy is old school and gentle. Say what you see? A man living the dream who couldn’t fail to charm if he tried. (Peggy Hughes)

I Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 76), 6pm, £72.50—Ei 5 (£7 750—874).