JOKE THIEVES The show that positively encourages stealing material
T here’s a tacit understanding on the comedy circuit that plagiarism is one of the worst crimes a comic can commit. But at Joke Thieves, acts have to swap routines; each does five minutes of their own material before reproducing five minutes by someone else on the bill. Pairing musical comics with one-liner merchants and character acts with deadpan monologists, it gives ‘free rein’, according to stand-up Stephen Carlin, ‘to duplicate, spoof, parody, deconstruct or destroy the other comedian’s set’.
A cult hit at last year’s Fringe, the show returns to Edinburgh with a compelling line- up of rookies Jo Caulfield, Andrew Doyle, Mark Nelson and Keir McAllister, plus established thieves Jojo Sutherland and Toby Williams as Dr George Ryegold. With hopes that it may become a regular fixture at The Stand, the night plays at the Glasgow
Comedy Festival in April and is back in the capital in August with a weekly outing for sketch troupes. Indeed, such is its growing popularity that its founder, comic Will Mars, is touring it round the festival circuit, taking it to Norway and the US, and developing a television adaptation with Glasgow production company The Comedy Unit. ‘It’s a really supportive environment,’ he enthuses. ‘The audience tends to give more when someone looks like they’re about to bomb. But you really don’t see many car crashes. I always say to the new acts: you’ve got to remember it’s Joke Thieves, not Personality Thieves. You’re taking the material and doing what you want with it, rather than having to pick up the exact nuance of their delivery.’ (Jay Richardson)
The Stand, Edinburgh, Wed 19 Feb.
HITLIST THE BEST COMEDY EVENTS
✽ Robin Ince Raising funds for the PBH Free Fringe is everyone’s favourite bookish
comic with a selection of material bound to tickle your funnybone and enlighten the mind. The Canons’ Gait, Edinburgh, Thu 23 Jan.
✽ Andrew Lawrence There Is No Escape, assures / threatens the former wild-looking
man of stand-up, who may have tidied up his look, but retains a scary-sounding act. See My Comedy Hero, page 52. The Stand, Edinburgh, Sun 26 Jan; The Stand, Glasgow, Mon 27 Jan.
✽ Comedy in the Dark A charity gig
with a big clue in the title: performers include Jay Lafferty (right) and Vladimir McTavish. Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Wed 29 Jan.
✽ I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue Five experienced comedy men club together
to bring the magic of the wireless to the stage. See 5 Things, page 53. King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 30 Jan.
✽ Kabaret Limo The most intriguing night of the month, with a group of
Polish comics doing some improv action. The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 15 Feb.
✽ Russell Brand Ole Rusty Rockets is back
to unleash his Messiah Complex on an adoring faithful. SECC, Glasgow, Tue 18 Feb.
✽ Joke Thieves See preview, left. The Stand, Edinburgh, Wed 19 Feb.
23 Jan–20 Feb 2014 THE LIST 51