Preview: Comedy nights in February

Henning Wehn

Henning Wehn - Credit: Archant

February may be the shortest month — but it is not short on laughs. SIMON PARKIN picks six nights to make sure you laugh your way right through until March.


Norwich Playhouse, February 8, £15.50, 01603 598598,

Following last year's sell-out debut UK tour, Canadian émigré Tom Stade returns to Norwich with his brand new live show Totally Rocks!

A rollicking, carefree show, it is quintessential Tom Stade; brilliantly mischievous and charming, frequently cutting close to the bone and packed with sharp and inventive observations. He shares his refreshingly laid-back and unconventional ethos on life; playfully leading audiences into a world where there are no boundaries, and anything goes.

His magnetic stage presence, irrepressible charm and first-class storytelling has already resulted in TV appearances on Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Lee Mack's All Start Cast, Channel 4's Stand Up for the Week and Dave's One Night Stand, and he is ripe for a big breakthrough in 2013.

This is a chance to catch him before he explodes into a household name. But as befits a man who appeared in and co-wrote Frankie Boyle's infamous Tramadol Nights, it's strictly over-16s only.

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Norwich Playhouse, February 9, £12 (£10 cons), 01603 598598,

Having experienced motherhood, divorce, and MTV, this award-winning comedian proves the things in life that make us bitter, can actually be quite delicious and hilarious.

After making appearances on Mock The Week and Episodes, and Channel 4's 8 Out of 10 Cats and Campus, Katherine Ryan brings her caustic and upfront comedy, all wrapped up an a butter-wouldn't-melt persona, to Norwich Playhouse for the first time.

What you look like shouldn't make any difference in comedy. Funny's funny whatever the package. However, for Ryan, being young, pretty and smart is handy as her unexpectedly dark, savage wit confounds people expectations. She is sweeter than that first bite of fresh lemon from the tree.

Her schtick of undercutting her own superficial sweetness with cruelty and profanity is hardly ground-breaking but she delivers as evidenced by numerous wards and rave reviews. She proves the things in life that make us bitter can actually be hilariously delicious.


Norwich Playhouse, February 14-15, £12.50, 01603 598598,

They say outsiders know us best and German comedian Henning Wehn has built a comedy career on examining the British and their foibles — and our troubled relationship with our near neighbours on the continent.

The self-appointed German Comedy Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Henning has also set out to prove wrong out view that Germans do not have a sense of humour. He does not find that funny.

After the success of his BBC Radio 2 series Henning Knows Best and a sell-out UK tour of his previous show No Surrender last spring, he returns with Henning Knows Bestest, his latest comedic musings, which are part stand-up show, part comedy lecture.

This time he is here for two nights which is a reflection of the fact that while he has long been a popular fixture on the comedy club circuit, he has finally made the breakthrough into the mainstream. He has appeared on numerous shows in the past few months including Radio 4's The Unbelievable Truth, Five Live's Fighting Talk and TV's 8 out of 10 Cats, Have I Got News For You and QI.

He has become a familiar pundit giving his idiosyncratic views on the English and the rest of Europe. Henning, who has long been resident in this country, and has spent that time acutely observing the quirks of his adopted homeland. See how they view us at these two night of Tuetonic jolliness.


Norwich Arts Centre, February 16, £18.50, 01603 660352,

Magician and comedian Jerry Sadowitz, who has long revelled in a reputation as one of the country's most confrontational stand-ups. Widely considered to be one of the best stage magicians in the country — magic, not comedy, is his first love.

Sadowitz admits he has courted controversy in his time. His hard-hitting humour takes jokes almost as far as possible — to a level some find offensive and others hysterical.

His reputation frequently goes before him. Rude, crude and sometimes provocatively misogynist. No subject is too tasteless, no taboo too sensitive. He's been banned, booed off, picketed by pensioners and physically attacked (numerous times).

His material will sometimes reference disasters or tragedies and he happily uses obscene language liberally. According to his fans, its all to cutting comedic effect, others fail to see the funny side.

However he is, dressed in black and wearing his trademark Victorian funeral directors style hat, a true original.


Norwich Arts Centre, February 21, £14 (£12 cons), 01603 660352,

Justin Moorhouse, star of Radio 4's Everyone Quite Likes Justin, arrives in Norwich as part of his first proper solo UK tour with what he promises will be a 'stand-up romp'.

Still can't quite put a name to the face? Well, Moorhouse was also Young Kenny in Peter Kaye's award-winning sitcom Phoenix Nights — who can forget the face-painting incident which left him looking like a tiger? — and recently performed on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

He has come a long way since winning the City Life Comedian of the Year in 2000 and is nothing if not multi-career skilled having a day job as a presenter on BBC Radio Manchester and hosting his own daily afternoon radio show on Sony Award winning Key 103; and having donned his acting hat to star in several TV shows and films including Ken Loach's Looking for Eric.

But he is most at home doing stand-up and is a master at quirky and imaginative stories and taking things that happen in everyday life and turning them into hilarious tales, expect stories about everything from family to owls, his dog and his kids.

You will laugh.


Carrow Road, Norwich, February 28, 7.30pm, £12, 0844 8261902,

The Red Card Comedy Club returns for another of its always excellent monthly nights of stand-up offering the perfect way to banish those winter blues.

Those appearing include clever, brilliant soul-baring stand-up Adam Crow, who specialises in observational confessionals laced with savage one-liners, who is just back from an all conquering trip to USA and boasts fantastic Edinburgh and Melbourne Fringe reviews.

Sony award winning comic Gary Delaney, a regular guest on Mock The Week, delivers razor sharp one-liners and is widely regarded as being the most quotable comic on the circuit, which is probably why he has also written for stand-ups including Jason Manford and Micky Flanagan.

Travelling to Norwich will be a breeze for Nick Wilty who is known as the 'Globetrotting Comedian' for good reason: he has performed on every continent except Antarctica (although he has played Tierra Del Fuego!).

Compere for the evening will be Rich Wilson who harboured comedy ambitions since his next door neighbour gave him a cassette of Eddie Murphy Delirious but he only plucked up the courage to step up to the mic when he got a job as a barman at a comedy club in South London and hasn't looked back.