Previews | COMEDY


S N A V E N V A G © O T O H P

STAND-UP JENNY ECLAIR Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Fri 30 Oct STAND-UP DANIEL SLOSS The Stand, Glasgow, Sun 27 Sep; The Stand, Edinburgh, Wed 30 Sep

Describing herself coyly, perhaps flirtatiously, as ‘semi-bearded and suffering from outbreaks of gout and hysteria’, comedian Jenny Eclair wants to seduce her crowd with the brand new show, How to Be a Middle Aged Woman (Without Going Insane). Daniel Sloss is a little fed up. He’s had it up to here (imagine someone gesticulating towards their neck area) with people calling his comedy ‘dark’, to the extent that his new show takes this adjective for its title and sees him cutting a swathe through the topic of taste and offensiveness in modern culture.

As the title self-explains, south Londoner Eclair will be tackling issues of ‘I talk about death, God (or the lack thereof, if you have any common sense),

ageism by asking the (arguably also slightly ageist) question, ‘why are so many young people idiots?’ and ‘is swearing better than crying?’ By way of an answer to her own last question, she reveals that ‘swearing doesn’t leave your face looking like a massive swollen football with measles; I’m a very blotchy crier.’ Embarking on a UK tour in September, ‘to explore some of the bollocks that surrounds the ageing process’, Eclair’s 25-year career boasts such highlights as being the first solo female winner of the Perrier Award in 1995, writing three novels, starring in stage shows Grumpy Old Women and The Vagina Monologues and coming third in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Eclair isn’t just back for a right old moan. She insists that there are also plenty of positive sides to getting older. ‘You can spend your tampon money on pickles and relishes.’ (Claire Sawers)

drugs, sex and lots of other things, and I’m comfortable talking about them. People who get offended by comedy are idiots. You don’t get to listen to a comedian’s joke and then say “he / she wasn’t joking”. I think people see that comedians like Jim Jefferies, Louis CK and Amy Schumer are really funny but also genuinely honest about themselves and their insecurities. A lot of people are too scared to be honest with themselves, so seeing someone else do it freaks them out.’

Admitting that ‘tampons, chilli and your mum’ are other areas he’ll be touching on in Dark, Sloss states that politics is firmly not on his agenda. ‘I just can’t pretend to give a shit. It bores me and I don’t know enough about it. I like talking about things I’m passionate about and I feel nothing for politics because I’m an out-of-touch moron.’ (Brian Donaldson)

STAND-UP DOC BROWN Òran Mór, Glasgow, Thu 24 Sep; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 25 Sep

When pressed to say what he would like to do if anything was possible, Doc Brown muses, ‘apart from play for Crystal Palace? That’s the only childhood dream that hasn’t yet come to fruition.’ Now in his 30s, he’d probably be looking at playing in goal, but given his versatility you’d be daft to put it beyond him. This rapper, stand-up and actor clearly has a love of language. It’s possibly even in his genes given that his sister is Zadie Smith. ‘When I was six I was desperate to be in school plays, choirs, wherever I could use my voice. My dad was old-school working- class London, born in the 1920s, and my mum was first- generation Jamaican. So I had two very distinctive and different voices around me as a child and I loved the nuances.’

He came onto the comedy scene via rap having been attracted

to it by ‘rude words then humour. Then I saw actual rappers battling and it was the most awe-inspiring, intimidating thing. I realised these guys from the ghetto were unsung geniuses, ‘hood Einsteins.’

His latest show, The Weird Way Round, has Brown moving away from rap, instead exploring straight stand-up. ‘I’m not a kid any more, so I can’t keep rapping about dumb stuff. My kids are nearly at rapping age, for Christ’s sake! I think everyone just wants me to be “The Comedy Rapper” because that’s a category they can understand. When I start talking about insecurity, parenthood, depression, religion, race, class, philosophy, art and death, people are like, “no, that’s for grown-up white comedians: just do the tea rap”.’ With Empty Threats, his first comedy album, now out and the

David Brent film Life on the Road about to go into production, Crystal Palace might just have to manage without him. (Marissa Burgess)

3 Sep–5 Nov 2015 THE LIST 57