Norwich comedy shows that’ll banish January blues

Christmas and New Year are memories but January blues need not kick in. SIMON PARKIN previews five comedy shows that will help cheer you up.


UEA LCR, January 9, �10-�8.50, 01603 508050,

His 2011 Foster's Comedy Award Nomination has given young Geordie comedian Chris Ramsey a boast and he is certainly not hanging about making his third appearance in Norwich in the last few weeks. Following two pre-Christmas sell-out dates at the Playhouse, he is the first headline act of 2013 at the UEA Comedy CLub.

After making his breakthrough in 2012 with his curiously named new show, Offermation — based on a word that describes 'information that is given without being asked for', in change from some comedian who flog with the same show for years, his recent visits have been on the back of his new show Feeling Lucky, in which he ponders the question: 'how did we get here: elaborate plan or sheer fluke?'

Since being a finalist in the Chortle Student Comedy Awards in 2009, Ramsey has supported award winning comics Russell Kane, Al Murray, Russell Howard and Lee Mack on their nationwide tours.

He is also becoming more recognised on TV after appearances on 8 Out of 10 Cats, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Russell Howard's Good News.

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Norwich Playhouse, January 10, �12.50, 01603 598598,

Milton Jones bemused and slightly surreal world had long made him a popular comedian with Radio 4 listeners and on the comedy club circuit but since his increased television appearances, he seems to have made the jump to wider recognition and we just can't get enough of him.

Fresh from winning Celebrity Mastermind — specialist subject the potato — the former Perrier Best Newcomer and Perrier Nominee is back on the road with another tour but unfortunately it isn't quite ready yet. Don't panic though he's a professional and has been on Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo as well as performing nine of his own Radio 4 series.

And we're lucky enough to have Norwich Playhouse hosting this special 'work in progress' preview show, ahead of his full tour, no doubt of larger venues, later in 2013.

If you love his old stuff you're bound to recognise some of his celebrated one-liners and some of those pictures he drew, plus lots of brilliant new jokes you'll hear before anyone else, up close and personal.


Norwich Arts Centre, January 10, �7 (�5 cons), 01603 660352,

How much is beauty worth? What will people pay for an air guitar on eBay?

These urgent questions and others are answered in The Price of Everything, a one-man performance lecture about value by comedian, playwright and much more besides Daniel Bye.

His whistlestop tour of bizarre facts and impassioned arguments is occasionally shambolic and often tendentious — but always a joy to watch.

Bye has the affable manner and checked shirt of a Blue Peter presenter, and there's a similarly appealing do-it-yourself feel about his show. His central thesis is difficult to sum up, not least because almost everything he tells us — from the market price of various human body parts, to the fact he successfully sold that air guitar — he later admits to having made up.

Comic, provocative, and possibly a tiny bit sad, this show is a must if you've ever wondered about the difference between the price of an object and its value.

Oh and you get a free glass of milk.


Norwich Arts Centre, January 17, �10, 01603 660352,

Still known for the Mary Whitehouse Experience and as one half of Newman and Baddiel, Robert Newman has taken a fascinating path through literature and political comedy since those heady days in the 1990s.

His first post Newman and Baddiel show History of Oil become a cult hit worldwide. Through a mixture of stand up, sketches and filmed inserts, he gave an original take on the last 150 years of our history and its links to oil dependency; while in his follow-up Caliban to the Taliban he expertly used comedy to tell some home truths on the war on terror.

This month he visits Norwich Arts Centre to try out material for his latest show Theory of Evolution ahead of a major new UK tour.

'These January dates will mostly be rough and ready new material, certainly not the polished finished article,' he admits. 'I enjoy these sorts of gigs though as you never know what is going to work and what is not, and I like the ramshackle improvised nature of new material nights.'


Norwich Arts Centre, January 23, �10, 01603 660352,

On his last two visits to Norwich, Mark Thomas has tackled the subjects of walking the Israeli West Bank wall and the true story of his father's passion for opera.

Here he makes a quick low-key return to try out new material in advance of a brand new series of his Sony Award Winning Radio 4 show The Manifesto.

If you've never caught the series, in it the comedian and activist creates a People's Manifesto, taking suggestions from his studio audience and then getting them to vote for the best.

In previous series suggestions have included have ranged from the daft — on seeing a balding man with a ponytail, you are legally required to cut it off; you have to push over anyone who dithers on a pavement and 4x4 cars should be transparent — to the more serious such as prime ministers being only be allowed to serve two terms.

Known for exposing torturers, arms dealers, multinational corporation skulduggery and abuses of civil liberties, the UK's finest political comic will be testing out brand new policy ideas and inviting comments from the audience. So get your thinking cap on — someone has got to lead us out of this mess! The show will also include new material and new stand-up.