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Nina Conti rises to the simian ventriloquism challenge
After the sad demise of Keith Harris and Orville. the trag-cally premature death of Hod Hull and the floundering of Bernie Clitt()h's career in ostrich entertainment. man and ll‘élll‘ll‘éti acts were looking ,iust about over. Hailing from the days of the variety show. they couldn't cut it in the new face of comedy and as Keith Harris said to l ouis ’l'heroux when explaining his lack of recent telly appearances: “I'm not a TV chef. am l’?‘
That's right Keith. but help is at hand. And this help belongs to the beautiful and elegant hand of Nina Conti that is regularly stuck up the backside of Monkey.
Conti's ventriloguism act has won many a plaudit. ft()ll‘ ~.vinner of the BBC New Comedy Awards 2002 to winner of the Amused Moose laient Quest 2002. and has breathed new life into an ailing art form. Feminine. well-spoken and glamorous. she is perhaps; the last person you'd imagine to pick up the baton, but Conti's charm and cheeky little alter ego are a winning partnership, 'l'd learned ventriloguisn‘ Just for fun in my spare time and a mate of mine had this puppet.‘ says the daughter of Paisley-born actor Tom Conti. 'l JUth thought it was funny looking and that I'd rather use it than a ntanneguin because they're a bit spooky'
I don't want to give away too much. but the show ;limaxes with a lewd act Involving Conti. the monkey and a pint glass ‘That's Just a basic instinct I suppose." she giggles. 'Just a silly tokey thing that anyone will do and its base and it's not clever but it is funny, I think."
Her audience would agree and it is the sight of a posh English woii‘ai‘. attempting to tame a horny ape that gets the laughs. ‘Somt-itimes things that I really don't approve of or find funny come out, like the other night Monkey was talking to this woman and he said: "Get yetir tits out." I didn't mean that to come out it's a bit like having l'ourette's syndrome.’
Omlle is dead. Long live Monkey! iRuth l—ledgesi I Nina Conti plays the Mercury Lounge. Thu 20 Mar; Cur de Sac Sout/iside. Fri 97 8 Sat 22 Mar.
IT’S THE WAY HE TELLS ’EM How funny is FRANK CARSON? Here are a few prime examples of the Ulsterman’s wit and wincedom. Research: Brian Donaldson
v. So rang up British Telecon‘ and said: “I want to report a nuisance caller.’ He s‘aid: 'Not you. agam.‘ A traffic policeman stops Sister Bridget for speeding. She pulls into the side of the road and winds down her window. The officer walks round and starts . undoing his fly. ‘Oh dear,’ she says, ‘not the breathalyser again.’ Someone threw a petrol bomb at Alex Higgins once and he drank it. I’m not really a homosexual. I just help them out when they’re busy. Did you hear about the footballer who was awarded a free kick? He took it at the referee. (And here’s a cracker about him) What’s the difference between Roy Keane and Frank Carson? Roy Keane gets more bookings in a season. I Frank Carson plays the King's Theatre. Fri 27 Mar.