Preview: Norwich comedy nights not to miss in March

March is promising to be another month packed full of laughs. SIMON PARKIN previews some of the stand-ups whole will have us laughing into spring.


Norwich Playhouse, March 2, returns only, 01603 598598,

All aboard for the Tim Vine Joke-omotive again tonight as the one-man punch line marathon returns to the Norwich Playhouse.

Vine, known as King of the Pun, is not like many other comedians. It is literally pun after pun, intercepted with mad ditties. Despite its eccentricity, he is a genuinely funny man, with great timing, and a natural manner that makes you believe he is a nice guy.

Like Jimmy Carr, his jokes don't follow a narrative and he is not an observational comedian, but his gags are certainly cleaner and less risque than Carr. His short jokes were simple yet effective, like he says he met the man who invented window sills 'what a ledge'.

An evening in his company will leave you wondering was there really a potato that turned into a torch? Did I actually watch intently and then cheer as he tried to get a pen to land behind his ear?

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The answer, of coursem is probably yes, and more wacky comedy routines will come one after the other with too many 'laugh out loud' moments to recall.


Norwich Theatre Royal, March 11, �19.50-�5.50, 01603 630000,

With a humour that is acerbic, dark, leftfield and meandering by turns, Stewart Lee's latest stand-up odyssey — Carpet Remnant World — sees him step up to the big stage of Norwich Theatre Royal, probably thanks to the profile he has gained from his BBC2 show Comedy Vehicle.

What can a sexless middle aged married man, whose life now consists mainly of watching Scooby Doo cartoons with a four year old boy, possibly find to write comedy about?

Formerly stand-up's youthful iconoclast, Lee now gawps blankly at News 24 as Britain burns down around him, and blinks weirdly at the vast wayside retail outlets during endless journeys to and from increasingly indistinct provincial theatres. Once he lived on the pleasure planet. Now he is trapped in Carpet Remnant World. And so are you.

His meandering style and repetitive delivery aren't to everyone's taste, as he is the first to admit. 'I'm not like Dara O'Briain or Frankie Boyle where they come out on stage and they've got 200 jokes. I've got three jokes, and they add up to a story and they've got a point at the end.'


Norwich Playhouse, March 9-10, returns only, 01603 598598,

On top of that lean, dark-dressed figure is the famously craggy, cranky head, enlivened by a pair of eyes whose twinkle gives the lie to their owner's renowned grouchiness.

Rich Hall is famous for his sardonic demeanour and deadpan gravel voice that has seen him become a semi-regular on Have I Got News For You and QI.

His is an affable moroseness that hides a sharp wit. The American wrote for US chat show giant David Letterman and was a regular on Saturday Night Live before moving to the UK.

And there is more to him than stand-up. He was last in Norwich with his musical alter-ego Otis Lee Crenshaw and he recently made a documentary, Rich Hall's Dirty South, about the difference between people's perceptions of America's Deep South and the reality.


UEA, March 5, �14.50, 01603 508050,

Shappi Khorsandi is well on her way to being ubiquitous and seems to have a soft spot for Norwich.

Fresh from her sell-out three-night run at the Playhouse over Christmas, she is back to help launch the new UEA Comedy Club.

Last time she arrived with her acclaimed show, Me And My Brother In Our Pants, Holding Hands, about how she and her brother were best friends but also beat each other up. This time there is no script, just top notch stand-up.

That she could sell out three nights is testament to the comic's growing status. She was a British Comedy Award Nominee last year and is now a regular on Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow and Have I Got News for You, as well as various Radio 4 comedy shows.

Mining her family life for material for her live shows isn't new; she has discussed her Iranian background and divorce in previous shows, and waxes lyrical on the pitfalls of life as a single mum. Expect sensitive insight mixed in with whip-crack jokes as you are taken on a cerebral journey by one of the most talented female comics to emerge in the last 20 years.


UEA, March 12, �14.50, 01603 508050,

If u is reading this then u is an idiot coz u don't have to! But seeing as you are, you'd be mad innit to miss this latest Norwich date comic creation, who has become a cult thanks to his hit BBC3 show.

Comedian Simon Brodkin — the man who inhabits Lee Nelson — has actually being perfecting his chavvy for a few years. Initially as part of Al Murray's TV series Personality Disorder before bagging a TV series all to himself, showcasing Lee along with a few other of his comic characters.

The resulting show seems to have divided opinion but, but even its critics admit it had its moments and his many other characters, such as Jason Bent the prancing footballer, are pretty funny too.

See what the fuss is about here as he dons his 'tracky-bottoms' and gold-chains for a whole evening of comic characterisation.

Appearing with him will be Tom Deacon, fresh from being special guest on Russell Kane's Whistle-Stop Tour, and Jarlath Regan. Now that is well good, innit?


Norwich Arts Centre, March 7,

Award winning stand-up Nathan Caton brings his Get Rich or Die Cryin' tour to Norwich Arts Centre.

A rising star on the comedy circuit, Nathan blends the reality of society and politics with his own personal and confessional material to create a hilarious show.

He is fearless in his approach to topics covering areas such as race, growing up and the problems with modern day teenagers in his set.

Nathan began his career on the UK Comedy circuit aged 19 and went on secure rave reviews and a legion of loyal followers following his debut appearance at the Edinburgh Festival and was swiftly crowned Chortle Student Comic of the Year.

Most recently he has appeared on Mock the Week and has just completed his own radio series for Radio 4 called Can't Tell Me Nothin.