The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 8 Jun; The Stand, Glasgow, Wed 9 Jun

Those gentle, innocent days when stand-ups were stand-ups are long gone. In our multi-channel, multifarious age, its just not enough for some curly-permed type with regional accent and ruffled shirt to take the mic and tell a few jokes. No, we audiences want our goldfish attention spans to be invigorated by music, gimmicks, razzle-dazzle and

those spinning mirrorball things.

No one who has followed Boothby Graffoe’s career could call him a mere stand-up. As a performer, the affable chap has delighted fans with surreal, often improvised observations and offbeat songs such as ‘Umbrella Head Boy’. This magazine has shown a particular admiration for his unique brand of entertainment, our devotion illustrated by the mid-905 poster which enticed punters to Graffoe’s Edinburgh Fringe show with a series of ‘commendations’ gleaned exclusively from The List.

In recent years, the comic has cast his creative net to include writing plays, his first Condition of the Virgin being nominated for a Fringe First award, while the follow-up God and Adam featured Steve Frost and enjoyed a sell-out London run. Elsewhere, not content to release a mere ‘comedy album’, Graffoe’s latest musical effort is the acclaimed Wot Italian?, a stylish, irreverent collaboration

with guitar legend Antonio Forcione.

As if this determined shoving at the comedy boundaries was not enough, Graffoe recently capped more firsts by becoming the first ever comic to appear at the prestigious New Zealand Arts Festival. He also made his first American appearance on popular talk show Late Night with Conan O’Brien, but he’s somewhat coy about his US debut. ‘O’Brien is incredibly tall, about 6’ 5”, much taller than he looks on TV. I’m not sure how I went down, though.

The band thought I was funny.’ Now in the midst of an extensive UK tour and with another musical show set to grace Edinburgh this August, Graffoe has recently completed a third play, which is currently going through the torturous rehearsal process. His tendency to jump around between projects is partly down to a sense that the grass is always greener on the other side. ‘When I’m writing the play and going to the first read-through, that’s exciting. But then I get to the re-writing stage and I want to be doing stand-up; and when I’m doing stand- up I want to be singing. That’s what motivates me more than anything.’ (Allan Radcliffe)

Ayesha Hazarika is no novelty act


The Vault, Glasgow, Thu 10 Jun

What would Ronni Ancona be without Alistair McGowan? Well, some might say a hell of a lot funnier. but in the stand-up world. it seems men take the limelight while women are relegated to glamorous comedy sidekick or feisty compering duties. The Babycham Funny Women awards aim to change this by fOCLising purely on the fairer sex. The idea was dreamed up by Lynne Parker to attract women who might otherwise have been put off stand-up by the prevalence of male club owners. lad acts and ‘bloke jokes“. As she puts it: 'Women simply perform better when they're together and they get more out of it; all the girls help and support each other.'

This nurturing ethos is the driving

Furry ha ha

force behind the awards. encouraging women from all across the UK with fewer than three years' experience to compete for a place in the London final on 12 July. In 2003 Sarah Davies won the maiden award with her character comedy set based on Jade the folk singer. sc00ping a 9.2000 prize and helping her launch an Edinburgh Fringe career with Fo/k as F “k!

This kind of exposure is the ultimate goal for most comedians. and one of last year's entrants. Ayesha Hazarika. is returning for a second shot in the Glasgow heat. For her. it's a great opportunity not only to practice her style but also to gain insight into the women's comedy scene as a whole. ‘I hadn't ever been on a bill with another woman before I took part in this because female comedians are few and far between; you're normally the novelty act on the bill.‘ (Rachael Street)


Gagging for it

Boy in the huddle

IN THE FRENETICALLY competitive world of local comedy, it‘s still nice to be nice. With the Cowgate Comedy Central flinging its funny doors open on Thursday 27 May. you'd have thought that the Stand would have got up off its seats and started chucking purple powder across the city. Not actually the case, as this statement from a Stand source indicates: ‘Our stance on new venues has always been to wish them the very best of luck. It’s a lot of hard work and there are many easier ways to earn a living. Hopefully, there is enough interest in live comedy to sustain us all.’ Group hugs. mass huddles and circles of love will soon be seen on York Place, Hasties Close and all points in between.

ROSS NOBLE HAS SURELY instigated a few mass huddles in his time and he is looking to spread his Geordiean love across the central belt during the festival month. On 15 August, Ross will officially become the Noodlemeister at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre while between 16—21 of that very same month he displays his surrealistic wares all over the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.


success of 72 Angry Men at last year's Fringe. a new batch of comics are set to do that ensemble drama thing with another Guy Masterson production at the Assembly Rooms. This time, it's Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo ’s Nest with Mackenzie Crook. Dave Johns. Owen O'Neill and Phil Nichol among the comedic cast. joined by genuine theatrical thesp Frances Barber.

27 May—ll) Jun 2004 THE LIST 73