This new comedy is typically apolitical. Arctic Boosh say of themselves that they are apolitical ‘like most of our generation.‘ Alternative comedy is dead as we knew it. New comedy is more touchy-feer than shouty-sweary.

‘ls comedy the new psychoanalysis‘." is the question l've thrown at every comedian I‘ve met this festival. Most responses have been along the lines ‘bollocks’ or quizzical looks

that seem to communicate ‘are you daft or

what'." Some. though. have been more positive. ‘The audience were in a kind of therapeutic mode.‘ agrees Steven Alan Green. ()mid Djalili reckons that. yes. it could be if it‘s ‘stand-up comedy not looking outward towards issues. but looking inwards towards the person.‘

Whatever comedy is. however. the bottom line is that it‘s about laughter. And as every good psychoanalyst will tell you. laughter is good for you.


As the Pub Landlord, Al. MURRAY wears character comedy's crown - King Beer, if you will. The List's cover star doesn't give measures. WOrds: Alan Morrison

A MAN WALKS INTO A BAR, AND THE GUY PULLING THE PINTS SAYS to him, 'Beer for the men and wine for the ladies, those are the rules, the French cannot be trusted, Jesus must be British because the Bible's in English, people do nothing with their lives these days . . . etc, etc, etc . . .'

In this case, however, the joke's on him or at least on those English stereotypes who bear a strange resemblance to Al Murray's Pub Landlord character. In Edinburgh for a huge Fringe run (with extra dates being added on what seems like a daily basis), Murray hits 1999 on the back of three successive Perrier Award nominations. 'Character comedy at its best’ reckoned The List in a five-star review last year, and Murray has certainly perfected the world of laughter’s 'character’ sub-division (as opposed to straight stand-up) in the years since the Pub Landlord first poured a frothy pint in Harry Hill's Pub Internationale show.

For this year’s show, Murray has ditched his 'big, baroque, curly explanations' of pub etiquette

in favour of the Landlord ' ’holding forth, philosophising,

talking about economics, the


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