Archive | Comedy

Phill Jupitus Comes to City Varieties


Comedian Phill Jupitus comes to Leeds City Varieties on Thursday, 28 September .

Is there anything Phill Jupitus hasn’t done? He was a DJ on BBC 6 Music, team captain on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, poet who supported Billy Bragg in the 1980s, TV and film actor, improv player, and musical star of Hairspray and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and now he’s returning to the live arena for a new stand-up tour in which he gets to be two people.

“I have a lot of material to choose from for this tour”, said Phill about his pun-loving stand-up, poetry and music show, Juplicity. “The thing that really works for me is that I support myself as Porky The Poet, so he goes out and does 40 minutes to start the evening. Because of Buzzcocks and other jobs, I let Porky and the poetry slide but after about a decade I came back to it, often just chucking stuff out on Facebook for mates to read. Combined with the old poems, and factoring in chit-chat between them, I had about an hour of material.”

Phill also has a proven track record of live music behind him from his time with the all-star Idiot Bastard Band. “The songs for this tour are solid; which all comes from the time I was in the band with Neil Innes and Ade Edmondson. Because I’ve spent time away from touring stand-up, you get better at doing it by building the source material. For the autumn tour I’ll do two hours: 40 minutes poetry, quarter of an hour of songs, and the rest is stand-up.”

Juplicity draws on Phill’s life, which he describes as both ‘chaotic’ and ‘flaky’. “Sean Lock has a phrase, that is both inspiring and worrying, about comedians mining their own personalities for material and then negotiating how much to keep back. Initially there was some resistance to me discussing things about my family.  As a comedian you are a person in a society within the world; all you have to do is look at things and shift your camera angle, then put a wider lens on the situation so that it resonates with people.”

It’s hard to know exactly what’s down the road for the ever-adaptable Mr Jupitus, but for now he’s enjoying the cut, thrust and edge-of-the-seat jeopardy that only live comedy can truly provide. “I think I’ve found a way of monetising a social dysfunction. I’ve always maintained that there’s something slightly wrong with arts and crafts types putting themselves in the most confrontational situation, which is standing in front of strangers and trying to get them on side.”

For tickets visit

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Rich Hall’s Hoedown at WYP


Rich Hall and his Hoedown band are coming to The West Yorkshire Playhouse on Saturday 7th October.

Never has there been a better time to be an American comedian in the UK. Hall’s precision dismantling of the tenuous relationship between the two countries is as freewheeling and deadly accurate as ever.

This Hoedown begins as a withering dissection of Trump’s America with all its twists and turns, but ends up in a celebration of Americana. There’s stand-up, improvised ballads, cracking good musicianship, and ultimately a hilarious, foot-stomping good time to be had by all. Even if you don’t own a hoe.

Rich Hall’s grouchy, deadpan style has established him as a master of absurdist irony and the king of rapid-fire wit. His critically acclaimed BBC Four documentaries, ‘Rich Hall’s Countrier Than You’ and ‘Rich Hall’s Presidential Grudge Match’, and his BBC Radio 4 series Rich Hall’s (US Election) Breakdown, have built him a whole new legion of followers, as have regular appearances on  Have I Got News For You and  QI.

Tickets are available from 0113 213 7700 or online at



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Found Footage Festival Returns to Hyde Park Picture House


Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher are bringing their Found Footage Festival back to the Hyde Park Picture House on Saturday 25th March, starting at 9pm.

Volume 8 of their latest live show, features newly unearthed VHS gems found at thrift stores, warehouses and dumpsters across the US.

Nick and Joe, whose credits include The Onion and The Late Show with David Letterman, began collecting found videotapes in 1991 after stumbling across a training video entitled, ‘Inside and Outside Custodial Duties’ at a McDonald’s in Wisconsin. Since then, they have compiled an impressive collection of strange, outrageous and profoundly stupid videos.

This year’s highlights include a collection of satanic panic videos from the 80s including ‘The Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults’, outtakes and on-air bloopers from North Dakota local news, and a star-studded Desert Storm parade sponsored by Taco Bell. There will also be highlights from David Letterman’s Video Collection, inherited by the Found Footage Festival when he retired.

“Some of the funniest events we’ve ever held here are thanks to the brilliant Found Footage Festival”, says Wendy Cook, General Manager at the Hyde Park Picture House. “So we’re so excited to welcome Joe and Nick back to Leeds and cannot wait to see what hilarious gems they’ve unearthed for us this time around!”

Tickets are £12 and booking is advisable via 0113 275 2045 or



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Hilarious Musical Satirist Mitch Benn Comes to Leeds


Mitch Benn DFTR Image 2017 smaller

One of the best writer/performers of comic songs in the country, Mitch Benn arrives at Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds on Saturday 25 February.

A regular on BBC1’s “The One Show” as the writer and arranger of “The Complaints Choir” and composer for two satirical topical ditties a week for “The Now Show” for BBC Radio 4 as well as BBC Radio 2’s “It’s Been a Bad Week”.  It’s safe to say Mitch is one of the country’s leading satirical song writers.

It’s been a morbid time for ‘the country’s leading musical satirist’ (The Times); he’s turned 46, his personal life is in turmoil and his childhood heroes are dropping like flies. At times like these, a man feels the Reaper creeping up on him… But is death anything to fear? Join Mitch to confront his (and your) mortality with hilarious and tuneful consequences.

Mitch Benn: Don’t Fear The Reaper

Saturday 25 February, 7:45pm

Tickets: £13 (£12 concession)

Tickets for all Carriageworks Theatre productions can be booked on 0113 376 0318, online through the website at or in person at the City Centre Box Office, Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AD. Tickets on the night can be picked up or purchased, subject to availability, at Carriageworks Theatre from one hour prior to the show.

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Brighten your Winter with a Bit of Magic for the Whole Family



Imagine a world where Penn and Teller are Victorian Brits and you are on your way to conjuring the magical duo of Morgan & West.  Following smash hit Edinburgh seasons in 2015 and 2016 and sell-out runs on London’s Southbank and around the country, Morgan & West bring their Empire inspired, thoroughly entertaining illusions to Leeds. Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show – For Kids (and Childish Grownups) arrives at Carriageworks Theatre on Sat 28 January 2017.

Witness a mountain of mysterious magic, a hatful of hyper-reality, and of course a truck full of tricks and tea (Mr Morgan is very sad to say there are no actual mountains or trucks on stage during the show, Mr West simply would not have them.) Mixing brain-busting illusion and good old fashioned tomfoolery, Morgan & West present a show for all the family, where magic and silliness abound!

Morgan & West have been performing their unique magic shows across the UK and around the world, including sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Fringe World in Perth, Adelaide Fringe where they were nominated for Best Family Show, and Buxton Fringe where they were awarded Best Comedy Show.

Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show – For Kids (and Childish Grownups)

Saturday 28 January, 2pm

Tickets: £8.50 (£9.50 adults)

Family Ticket: £34

Age 5+

Tickets for all Carriageworks Theatre productions can be booked on 0113 376 0318, online through the website at or in person at the City Centre Box Office, Leeds Town Hall

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Alas … Griff Rhys Jones Comes to City Varieties


UK Comedy legend Griff Rhys Jones brings his new show, Jones and Smith to Leeds City Varieties on Tuesday November 8th. Here the star talks about going it alone after life in a beloved double act.

Interview by Brian Donaldson

How would you describe Jones And Smith?

“It’s more of a talk than stand-up: I’m not announcing that ‘here I am on my own now and soon I’ll be doing the O2!’ I really love playing arts centres and intimate places and talking about whatever people want me to. It’s a theatre show or a chamber piece, it’s not a parade.”

And what is it essentially about?

“It’s really just to tell some stories about a double act and how that works. As time went gone on, it was always Smith and Jones, it was always Mel and Griff, so there’s an element of irony in the idea that this is Jones and Smith. Also, when Mel died at 60, it was a bit of a shock to all of us. I never expected to be 60 myself, not because I thought I’d die before I got there, just that I didn’t think it was time to be 60 yet. And so that comes along and then Mel dies and you think ‘wow, wait a minute, this is a new chapter; am I ready for this’? The first half is about Mel dying and the second is about being in your 60s. I won’t be doing the same show twice because there are many stories to tell and I’d like to try those out.”

How would you describe your relationship with Mel?

“It was a rollercoaster ride with us where you were liable to smash into something at 90mph, but it had an entertaining side where we travelled the world doing stupid things. On tour, we’d share a dressing room together and Mel would be smoking cigars, taking his socks off and generally spreading himself about like a bear in a cave and I’d be sitting in a corner trying to read my Plato. Later on, it was more like something out of the United Nations or like a relationship with a brother: we could communicate through grunts and we could wrestle each other, but we wouldn’t necessarily discuss emotional things.”

Would you describe it as like a marriage?

“Yes, though the sex in a marriage would be better. Along the way Mel was astounded as much by me as I was by him. It was a bit like when he died; I was very angry because I couldn’t believe that It was necessary for him not to do what I had done, such as to start running and giving things up to live longer.”

You were clearly different people with different perspectives, but what did you have in common?

“We were entirely different but the point I’d make is that we had very similar tastes in what we found funny. Like any relationship, if you don’t somehow have shared values then it’s difficult to do anything together. Mel had the loyalty of a water buffalo and he’d be 100% behind me if I was having a neurotic fit about something. We had a sort-of arrangement where I wrote a significant amount of material and looked after the writers, production and design, made sure taxis were there to pick us up, thought about our agenda and about our futures. Whereas Mel . . . well, he didn’t do any of that.”

Sounds like being on tour with Mel might have been a little chaotic?

“It was a different world from where I am in now: it’s amazing how many of those stories begin with ‘I was in a taxi’. We were thrown together as a couple and we had these barge poles between us and went our separate ways at the stage door. We’d split up and take turns on having dressing room no 2. Mel didn’t care, but it was just me: I couldn’t listen to ‘I Built This City on Rock N Roll’ 20 times but that was Mel’s favoured way of relaxing and it would also involve people that Mel had met down the pub joining him in the dressing room before the show.”

At what point did you start thinking that you might do a show about you and Mel?

“For the last few years I’ve done various audience-with type shows on many different subjects. I did the Slapstick Festival in Bristol where they show silent stuff and old comedy, which was where I came in. We’d made a pilot about 20 years ago and I took that along to show it and told some stories about Mel and about being in a double act. So, that’s where all this came from. But really, I just love talking to audiences.”

Where do you see your place in the British comedy firmament?

“Not The Nine O’Clock News had almost been and gone by the time the Comedy Store had come about, so we didn’t really associate with alternative comedy. The first series we did was on BBC2 and then it moved to BBC1 where the remit was to be more middle of the road; we were successful there and picked up bigger audiences and as a result we probably went on too long. But you do what you can and not what people expect you to do. But I don’t lie awake at night worrying about whether I was alternative or mainstream.”


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Rocky Horror Show at Leeds Grand Theatre


The Rocky Horror Show brings a glittering cast to Leeds Grand Theatre this Halloween for one week only, from Monday 31st October to Saturday 5th November.

Returning to the show to play the role of ‘The Narrator’ will be Coronation Street favourite Charlie Condou.

“I’m so excited to be returning to the cast of the Rocky Horror Show to play The Narrator”, said Charlie. “I had such a fantastic time playing the role earlier this year, so I was thrilled to be invited back. It’s such an iconic show, I’m looking forward to re-joining the cast and to seeing the brilliant audiences – who I am sure will again be keeping me on my toes.”

S Club 7 star Paul Cattermole will continue to excite audiences in the roles of ‘Eddie/Dr Scott’.  The title role of ‘Rocky’ is played by Dominic Andersen, and Frank n Furter by The Voice’s Liam Tamne.  ‘Janet’ will be played by Haley Flaherty. Completing the cast are Rocky favourites Sophie Linder-Lee as ‘Columbia’, Kristian Lavercombe as ‘Riff Raff’ and Richard Meek, who plays ‘Brad’.


LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Ben Forster (L) and Haley Flaherty perform during the Gala Charity of Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show in Aide of Amnesty International, which was broadcast live to cinemas throughout the UK and Europe, at Playhouse Theatre on September 17, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ben Forster; Haley Flaherty

Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank N Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house whilst on their way to visit their former college professor. It is an adventure they’ll never forget, with fun, frolics, frocks, and frivolity, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits.


Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the Rocky Horror Show is a guaranteed party, which famously combines science fiction, horror, comedy and music.  Audience participation is encouraged, meaning of course, getting dressed in your most outrageous fancy dress.  This musical extravaganza features all of the famous musical classics including ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’, ‘Dammit Janet’ and of course, the timeless floor-filler, ‘The Time-Warp’.  Ready to thrill you with fun and naughty moments, O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is the boldest bash of them all.  Be warned, this show has rude parts!

Tickets (£22 to £43) available from 0844 848 2700 and


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Marcus Brigstocke “Why The Long Face?” Comes to City Varieties


Award-winning comedian and broadcaster Marcus Brigstocke brings his eagerly awaited new stand up show ‘Why The Long Face?’ to City Varieties Music Hall on Tuesday, 25th October.   

“I was born with a long face and now there’s UKIP and Putin and being single and Islamic State and Trump and Paul Dacre of the Daily bastard Mail and tax dodging corporations and the bloody referendum and for some reason people have started drinking kale juice?! This is a show about gratitude and happiness…with just a tiny bit of wild-eyed, incredulous, livid ranting.”

One of Britain’s finest comedians and broadcasters, Marcus’ talent was noted early on in his career in 1996 when he won the BBC New Comedian Award at the Edinburgh Festival. He is now regarded as a major comedy, writing and acting talent, performing stand up nationally to sell out audiences around the UK and globally at international comedy festivals.

As well as his sold out comedy tours he can constantly be seen and heard with numerous appearances on UK television and radio. BBC Radio 4 has become somewhat of a second home to Marcus with regular appearances on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, The Now Show and Just A Minute plus his recent award-winning radio series The Brig Society. He has also written and recorded three series and four specials of his hit Radio 4 sitcom show Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off.

Marcus has notched up an impressive list of TV credits including his role as team captain on Argumental (Dave), and host of The Late Edition and I’ve Never Seen Star Wars (BBC4). Other appearances include; Have I Got News For You (BBC1), QI (BBC2), The Jump (Channel 4), Sorry I’ve Got No Head (BBC1) and The Late Edition (BBC4).

Tickets: 0113 243 0808, /@marcusbrig /

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Top Comedy for Teens this Half Term


The Clean as Possible Comedy Show is back in Leeds with a cracking new line-up this October Half Term. Favourite MC Tony Vino brings two exciting new acts to Carriageworks Theatre on Wednesday 26 October.

Along with his Saturday morning radio show, Steve Royle recently performed 16 nights at The Manchester Arena as part of the Phoenix Nights Live show, helping raise well over £5 million in the process. He also appeared at the London Palladium twice when he performed as part of the TV show Sunday Night At The Palladium and as warm-up for Neil Diamond: One Night Only.

He spent many years as the special guest on Dave Spikey’s tours and has supported several other top comedic names including Peter Kay, Mick Miller, and Roy Walker. He was also the first comic, ever, to perform as warm-up for The Royal Variety Show, alongside Take That, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow and Meatloaf.

George Zach moved from Greece to study Biochemistry in Newcastle Upon Tyne and discovered stand-up soon after. He has gone on to sell out his show Greek Tragedy at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, support Luisa Omielan on her Am I Right Ladies tour and appear on the One Show and This Week on BBC1.

Preston’s very own funnyman, Tony Vino has been touring the comedy scene since early 2005. Well aware of social and political issues he mixes friendly well thought out observational humour with audience interaction and quick witted responses.

The Clean as Possible Comedy Show

Wednesday 26 October, 7:15pm

Tickets: £5 (£8 adults)

Age 12+

Tickets for all Carriageworks Theatre productions can be booked on 0113 376 0318, online through the website at or in person at the City Centre Box Office, Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AD. Tickets on the night can be picked up or purchased, subject to availability, at Carriageworks Theatre from one hour prior to the show.

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Shazia Mirza: The Kardashians Made Me Do It


Award-winning comedian Shazia Mirza brings her critically acclaimed 2015 Edinburgh Fringe show to Carriageworks Theatre on Friday, 23 September following two sell-out runs in London.  The Kardashians Made Me Do It is a searing and urgent exploration of life, love and Jihadi brides.

The Kardashians Made Me Do It is inspired by three girls who left Bethnal Green to join ISIS, and an unrelated radio piece Shazia contributed to the BBC which subsequently received a record number of complaints. The show tells of the confusion it caused as she looks into the nature of offence, the dangers of politically correct liberalism versus the sinister and terrifying intrusion of ISIS into the lives of young British Asian women, and explores the phenomenon of jihadi brides.

The revered, applauded, loved and reviled comedian and columnist has appeared on various TV and radio shows including Have I Got News For You (BBC), F*** Off, I’m a Hairy Woman (BBC) for which she spent seven months in the service of hirsutism, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Beautiful People (BBC2), The World Stands Up (Paramount Comedy), and a regular slot on Radio 2’s Vanessa Feltz Show and Radio 4’s The Now Show.  She has performed internationally from Texas to Kosovo and has been a regular contributor to The Financial Times, The Daily Mail and wrote a weekly column in The Guardian entitled Dairy of a Disappointing Daughter, and was recently a guest on ITV’s Jonathan Ross Show and Loose Women.

In 2008 she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy, won Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards for her fortnightly column in The New Statesman and won the GG2 Young Achiever of the Year Award.

“Shazia Mirza is provoking laughter and large intakes of breath once again … brave and urgent ” ★★★★  – The  Telegraph

“Her laconic one-liners represent something quite unique in modern comedy” – The Guardian TWITTER: @shaziamirza1


Shazia Mirza: The Kardashians Made Me Do It

Friday 23 September 8pm

Tickets: £15 (£13 concession)

Tickets for all Carriageworks Theatre productions can be booked on 0113 376 0318, online through the website at or in person at the City Centre Box Office, Leeds Town Hall,

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