Preview: September’s best comedy nights

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


Norwich Arts Centre, September 18, �12, 01603 660352,

Alun Cochrane is a master at observational comedy, telling tales about eating, sleeping, daydreaming, driving, being a son, father, husband, mortgage-holder, car-owner, train-traveller, alcohol-consumer, hangover-sufferer, occasional football watcher and general liver of life.

In short; he gets material from anywhere he wanders in mind or body.

A Perrier nominated Stand Up comedian, he has appeared regularly on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Mock The Week as well as featuring on Radio 4's The Now Show, Just A Minute and Lee Mack and Friends.

As an Edinburgh regular, he has earned himself a handful of four and five star reviews to go alongside the Writer's Guild Award for Comedy.

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On his last visit to Norwich, he came with an envelope stuffed full of hand-crafted, lovingly created jokes or a bag of 'life' — anecdotes, observations, stories, and asked the question: which is funniest?

His latest show Moments of Alun has less of a gimmick and more straight forward stand-up, with the occasional detour into the surreal.


Norwich Playhouse, September 15, �15, 01603 598598,

Likable stand-up Fred MacAulay is one of Scotland's most famous comedians and, having been around for years, comes with a bag full of great anecdotes and witticisms.

He cut his comedy teeth as a long-time resident compere at London's Comedy Store and has since been a regular at comedy festivals around the country as well as appearing on Have I Got News For You, Q.I., Mock The Week and numerous other shows. For the past 15 years he has hosted BBC Radio Scotland's daily morning show — MacAulay & Co.

He is noted for his incisive comments on any subject that's topical — he's a regular panellist on the News Quiz. Expect some hair-raising humour on this latest visit as the likable Scottish stand-up returns with his new one man show Legally Bald which has just thrilled sell-out crowds at the Edinburgh Fringe.


Norwich Playhouse, September 21-22, �15 (�13 cons), 01603 598598,

Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Tim Key, who appears as Alan Partridge's sidekick in Mid Morning Matters, brings his latest adventurous, bizarrely beautiful bath-obsessed hour to Norwich.

Like the award-winning Slutcracker, the new show features collections of pithy poems and short stories and some gorgeously shot short films.

But Masterslut is a more ambitious, inventive hour than his previous offerings — it's subtle, shambolic, occasionally moving and gloriously funny.

After he won the 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Award, Key officially became a rising star, although he's been doing comedy for 10 years.

As well as comedy, he is also a poet with subjects include moving to a new flat, his older brother and baths. His random style of performance poetry earned him a regular slot on Charlie Brooker's Newswipe, while he also popped up earlier this year on Life's Too Short with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.


Norwich Playhouse, September 24, �12 (�10 cons), 01603 598598,

Paul Chowdhry is one of the UK's most successful Asian stand-ups. But while his superbly titled current show, What's Happening With White People?, has plenty of racial references, he resents being labelled as 'the Indian comedian'. 'They don't call Michael McIntyre 'the white comedian' so why should I be referred to as an Asian comedian? I'm British born,' he says.

However you view him, he is undoubtedly popular with millions of YouTube hits of his highly charged dry observational humour tapping into the multicultural diversity of contemporary Britain.

Taking inspiration from stand-up legends such as George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Sam Kinison, his best lines are when he kicks against the boundaries of acceptability.

And with a dry, deadpan delivery, his comedy is playful with racial stereotypes often leaving audiences unsure of what's going on beneath his inscrutable fa�ade.


Carrow Road, Norwich, September 27, �12, 0844 8261902,

Always offering a cast-iron laughter guarantee, this month's Red Card night at the Top of the Terrace at Carrow Road sees award winning stand-up Nathan Caton make a quick return to the city after the success of his Get Rich Or Die Cryin' tour date at the Arts Centre.

A rising star on the circuit, recently seen on Mock the Week and heard on his own radio series for Radio 4 called Can't Tell Me Nothin, 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.

Also appearing is Jess Fostekew (pictured) who has been performing improvised comedy and working as a comedy writer and actress since 2005 but really seems to have hit her stand0up stride in the past year, being named on of The Independent Top Ten Edinburgh Newcomers 2011.

David Whitney's material is a fine blend of political satire and pure filth that has won him some influential fans including Eddie Izzard. His posh-accented delivery with every key syllable carefully emphasised comes dunked in a tongue-in-cheek laddishness. MC for the night will be Tim Clark.


Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, September 25, �14, 01603 620917,

Jongleurs began with a comedy night in London in the 1980s and has since grown to be the country's biggest comedy chain. Last year they arrived in Norwich for a short lived venture hosting Friday and Saturday night 90-minute shows at Project on Riverside.

Sadly that didn't last but thankfully they've not given up on us and later this month they will be bringing a bill of three comedians and a compere to the Maddermarket.

No word as yet on who to expect (keep on eye on for details), but given there reputation, expect some top talent. The touring show will also be at the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer Pier on September 23.