STAND-UP JEREMY HARDY Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 28

& Sat 29 Jun

Jeremy Hardy has no plans to play the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. Or any year. ‘I can’t bear it,’ he says. ‘You have to get drunk till four o’clock in the morning and lose all sense of proportion and be absolutely irate about what reviews you’ve got and how all the younger comedians don’t know they’re born.’

In his live prime, however, Hardy was one of the best stand-ups in the festival, an unexpected amalgam of genial scruffiness and incisive left wing analysis, making him the well deserved winner of the Perrier Award in 1988. It’s not a period of his life he has much affection for.

‘It made me a bit mad for a year or two,’ says Hardy, now best known for his radio appearances on Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue and The News Quiz. ‘If you get too much attention too early, you get a bit silly. You start believing what people say. I got arrogant. But nothing much happened, so I thought I should just get on with

my job. Awards are silly: how can you compare one stand-up show with another? You should make them

arm wrestle or do a spelling bee.’

Since those days, the political landscape has changed: is it hard being a left wing comedian in a less black and white world? ‘No, it’s more fun,’ says the former Guardian columnist. ‘You have to be more creative than targeting individuals and their foibles. | talk a lot about the way we live and work and the drudgery that capitalism creates. The profit motive is not a very good motive for human beings: it’s cold blooded and leads to train crashes. So there’s room for

much more humanity.’

reality with the frivolousness of comedy? ‘lt’s a hard



The Stand, Edinburgh, Fri 28 & Sat 29 Jun

Laughing all the way to the bar

The odds on every Jolly northern comedian making an appearance on Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights at some point in their career must be pretty high. Already Peter Kay and co—v-lriter Dave Spikey. Justin Moorhouse and Daniel Kitson, and Bruinniies Steve

Hardy perennial

balance to get right. If you’ve made clear political opinions public and then you just do jokes about Big

Brother and cats, people are going to ask what they

came for, but on the other hand, you don’t want to hear two hours of Spartacist theory.’

So has he got any Big Brother jokes? ‘No, I find it too depressing,’ he says. ‘I just hate them. They’re the most horrible people in the world. I’m glad that they’ve started to find ways to punish them. They should use them for experiments. All those shampoos that have not been tested properly, they should use them on people’s eyes in Big Brother and start varying the

amount of radiation in the house to see what the effect But isn’t it tricky to mix the seriousness of political is.’

Edge and Jo Enright have swapped the thrill of the live stage for a taste of small screen celebiity. Surely it's only a n‘iatter of time before an inebriated Johnny Vegas is propping up the social club bar.

Like others before him. Barnsley- born comedian Toby Foster found the lure of joining the resident house band too hard to resist. 'It's lllSl a group of lads who've all known each other for three or four years.' says Foster. who plays drummer Les. ‘and Peters Just found the edge there. He said: "I've got a show. do you want to be on it?" So we all said: "Yeah." and we all go round and get drunk for six weeks every year. It's been quite good.’ Audiences and critics seem to agree.

You might say that Foster is in Willi the bricks at the Phoenix Club bar. Filming of the third series finished several months ago. yet the experience of working with his mates and fellow comedians lingers. "The good thing about working on Phoenix Nights is there's a lot of workshopping involved. Peter directed it this time as well as writing and starring in it. But there were a lot of times he'd look up and say: “What should we do here?"

I think I feel a routine coming on. (Mark Fisher)

He's prepared to listen. He doesn't always do what yOu say. obviously.’

Kay COLiId do worse than listen to Foster's comedy advice. A stand-up now for four years. the buoyant. energetic funnyinan has quickly established himself as a regular at London and Manchester Comedy Stores. In addition to stand-up. he promotes his own club. The Last Laugh in Sheffield. comperes the gong show at the Comedy Store in Manchester. and presents BBC Radio Sheffield's afternoon show.

Foster's current soaring career trajectory is due. in part. to his involvement in the Comedy Store's Men at Work gig. The topical show featured five comedians. a bundle of newspapers and a couple of hours of topical gags. Sharing a stage with other comedians was good training for the stand-up. DJ and all-round nice guy. ‘Most of the lime in stand-up you're really selfish.' says Foster. ‘You're standing there by yourself on stage. lights on you: you've got everybody focused on you. Whereas in Men at Work. it's Just as important that somebody else gets a laugh as it is that you get a laugh' (Maureen ElllSl

Joking aside

Where the laughter matters

THE BRITISH BULLDOG of the comedy world is back. Fresh from the Success of Time Gentlemen Please. Perrier award Winner AI Murray goes on the road in his pub landlord guise. He'll be stopping of at Glasgow's Payilion Theatre on Friday 18 October With more fruit-based drinks for the ladies. THE PROMOTIONAL blurb screamed: ‘Get ready to piss yourself and party’. The show was the Come Play with Aftershock tour featuring Ross Noble, Brendon Burns, Bez, Ralph Little and the Cuban Brothers to name but a few. It was scheduled to take place at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh on Thursday 18 July. Only someone should really have told the Gilded Balloon. Imagine their surprise on opening The List last issue only to be told that, unbeknownst to them, they’re hosting the hottest comedy- cum-clubbing event of the year. We suspect the event will go ahead, but here at The List, it felt like the Glasgow Comedy Festival all over again.

Al Murray

SPEAKING OF WHICH, last isSLie's news column appeared to inadvertently become the point of contact for said festival debacle. Many of the promoters and comedians involved in the festival found Out about its demise through these pages rather than through festival directOr James Campbell. A cancellation notice did eventually appear on the website and Des McLean‘s gig was transferred to the Arches was it better than the promised Kitson McLean at the Tron’2I. but let's JLlSl say the organisation could have been so much better.

LEE NESS IS ON THE lookout for comedians to take part in his new Tartan Tantrum venture. The club will be monthly to begin with, building up to fortnightly in the coming months, and the first night is at the Bush in Leith on Sunday 14 July. Interested comics should phone 0131 553 5284.

QC Jun .1.Jiil;}(}01’ THE LIST 67