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Diary of a Comedy Writer: Fringe Blurbs Forever

Diary of a Comedy Writer:  Fringe Blurbs Forever

26th August 2014

It’s not hard to find the queue for Pam Ayres at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. The comfortable shoes, the rimless oblong glasses, the stowable waterproofs – they’re my tribe and I know it.

I love Pam Ayres. I’d like to say ‘not in a stalkerish way’ but well, that urge to run up and gush: ‘You’re my comedy hero!’ is a bit too strong to dismiss. I’d write ‘I luv you’ on my eyelids for when she looks my way but let’s face it, none of us in this room has the eyesight for it.

I interviewed her once for a national newspaper and she was so, so nice. Just as warm and friendly as you hope she’ll be. It a…

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Vintage Funny Women Awards: Hattie Jacques

Vintage Funny Women Awards: Hattie Jacques

28th July 2014

Each month I take a look at Funny Women from throughout the 20th Century – stating their case so that you may decide which to vote your favourite Vintage Funny Woman. So far we have looked at Fanny Brice, Lucille Ball, Yorkshire’s Marti Caine, Music Hall star Vesta Tilley and the great Judy Garland. This month we are looking at the Carry On star Hattie Jacques.

Carry On films now feel dated and sexist to put it mildly, but there were two pillars of strong woman-hood in Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques. There was no messing with these ladies but Hattie did also have a soft side and she played the sex-kitten much better than Barbara Windsor ever could.

Hattie Jacques wa…

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Diary of a Comedy Writer: The Key to Heaven

Diary of a Comedy Writer:  The Key to Heaven

14th July 2014

"So is wife-swapping the same as that swinging, then?" I ask.

"I think so," says Andy.

"You live and you learn," I say, taking a sip of cappuccino.

These are the kind of zeitgeist lingo discussions we playwrights enjoy in our salons. Well I say salon, this writers group consists of me and Andy Moseley in the Rose Theatre cafe in Kingston. We met via the oneACTS Festival in Tolworth last year and now enjoy regular coffees to discuss matters theatrical.

We're talking about his play ‘Casual Encounters’, which is at Surgeons Hall at the Edinburgh Festival from 1-16 August. It's a dark comedy about a couple who go for marriage g…

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No one wants to see the clown cry

No one wants to see the clown cry

8th July 2014

The adage is that tragedy plus time equals comedy. In 2012 Tig Notaro stood on stage at Largo and told an unsuspecting audience that she had that week been diagnosed with breast cancer. "I am just at tragedy right now," she said. However what followed was a set of courageously honest and blisteringly funny observations of the horrific past few months of her life, culminating in her cancer diagnosis. It would seem that the only 'time' she needed to get to comedy, was the time it took to work it out on stage before her enthralled onlookers.

We are all familiar with the cliché that comedians are damaged, moody individuals who retreat from the spotlight after each…

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Diary of a Comedy Writer: Countdown to Curtain up

Diary of a Comedy Writer: Countdown to Curtain up

30th June 2014

48 hours to curtain up...

Narky Knickers Theatre is heading for Haworth Festival with my play ‘Friller’, the story of Edwardian daredevil Lily Cove. It has bloomers, balloons and Brontës and we’ve been rehearsing every night.

So now we've packed me, director Adam Wollerton and actors Barry Rocard, Charlotte Knowles and Olivia Cole into my Panda and we look more like some clown car stunt than thrusting thesps.

We buckle up but are wedged in so tight it’d take falling off a cliff to dislodge us. Still, it's not that far to Haworth is it? TomTom says about four and a half hours so we can cope. Oh yes, we're in high spirits as we set off fr…

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