2018 Norfolk arts preview: the best comedy not to miss

PUBLISHED: 14:48 05 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:46 11 January 2018

Daliso Chaponda, Richard Herring, Tom Allen and Sarah Millican. Photos: Submitted

Daliso Chaponda, Richard Herring, Tom Allen and Sarah Millican. Photos: Submitted


Britain’s Got Talent break-out star Daliso Chaponda is on debut tour, Sarah Millican returns, Richard Herring celebrates a milestone, rising stars Tom Allen and John Robins visit and David Baddiel brings his much acclaimed show.

Tony Law

Norwich Arts Centre, February 13

Wild-eyed Canadian comic, who made a breakthrough for his absurd comedy thanks to appearances on the likes of Have I Got News for You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, is back with his brand new show. This year he’s packing shadow puppetry, trampolining and the Silk Road. Truly a stand along voice in the world of stand up comedy, this Norwich Laugh in the Park regular is always stupendously surreal. There is nobody quite like him.

Richard Herring

Norwich Playhouse, February 16

Stewart Lee’s erstwhile comedy partner is also heading out way with a show, Oh Frig, I’m 50, that marks him celebrating (or mourning) a landmark age. The star of Radio 4’s Relativity and podcast king gets to the half century (against all odds) and looks at how his life has changed in the last decade, from irresponsible, single kidult, literally fighting his way through a mid-life crisis, to married father who is mid-way to the telegram from the Queen (though given she will be 140 in 2067).

Daliso Chaponda

Norwich Playhouse, February 18/King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, May 19

This UK-based Malawian comedian was already a regular on the comedy club circuit but he gained a big career boost when he appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2017. The stand-up was the stand out star and went on to garner over eight million Facebook followers and nine million views on YouTube. Now as well as preparing for the launch of his own BBC radio show, and the publication of his book, he is bringing his debut tour to Norfolk.

His comedy has previous poked up at both Brits and Africans. His latest show, What the African Said… is about recent news, old news, fake news, gossip, tall stories and declarations of love.

John Robins

Norwich Arts Centre, February 27/Norwich Playhouse, April 3

One of the most exciting and distinctive voices in comedy returns for two Norwich dates reflecting on love, loss and lamenting the fact he can’t break up with himself in his show The Darkness of Robins. The Elis James and John Robins show on Radio X, like Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Adam & Joe before them, spawned one of the UK’s most popular podcasts. The stand-up, vibe magnet and “London’s saddest DJ” will be shouting, snarling and sneering in his attempts to grapple with life’s fall-outs in what promises to be a pivotal moment in his being. Powerful, angst-ridden comedy at its finest.

Tom Allen

Norwich Playhouse, March 6/14

Waspish, biting, and deliciously camp, the sharply dressed, well-spoken, disparagingly camp son of working class Bromley has been a star on the rise in the past couple of years. You’ve probably seen him on just about every TV comedy show going from Mock The Week to 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Live at the Apollo to Channel 4’s Comedy Gala at the O2, and he has been heard on Radio 4’s Just a Minute and the News Quiz. Last year Tom has supported Sarah Millican, sold out his Edinburgh and London runs, and now brings his debut solo tour Absolutely.

Sarah Millican

Norwich Theatre Royal, March 18/Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth, August 3-4

Funny, frank and unapologetically filthy Sarah Millican is back with her latest show Control Enthusiast. She describes herself as not a control freak, but a control enthusiast. You’ll learn about Rescue Men, farting in hospital pants, what can happen at a bra fitting, the benefits of casserole, plus tips on how to talk to shop assistants and the correct way to eat a biscuit. The BBC2 star is one of the most popular comedians around and a trailblazer for breaking female comics into the touring big time. She could fill arenas, but prefers theatres.

Simon Munnery

Norwich Arts Centre, March 29

This serial avant-garde comedy innovator has previously brought comedic endeavours to the region, including performing a selection of the 19th century Danish existentialist philosopher’s writings, and challenging himself to make them funny. His latest, Renegade Plumber, is more straightforward an hour of stand-up and miscellany, featuring tales of plumbing woes, his attempts at under tent heating, jokes, songs, poems and the ridicule of capitalism.

Jon Richardson

Norwich Theatre Royal, May 21-22

Everyone’s favourite misanthropic perfectionist is back on tour with his latest show Old Man. The British Comedy Award nominee and star of Live At The Apollo and 8 Out Of 10 Cats is now a husband and father, has seen the UK vote to leave the EU, and watched the rise of Donald Trump – which leaves him asking one question: why can no one else alive correctly load a dishwasher? Sweetly grumpy, definitely funny the OCD sufferer can be relied upon to tell a tall tale and is a great improviser.

Mo Gilligan

Norwich Playhouse, May 31

After selling out the 2017 leg of his smash hit Coupla Cans Tour in a matter of minutes, online sensation Mo Gilligan is back out on tour by popular demand. With his high-energy style and stunning physicality, he is one of the UK’s fastest rising social media stars with an online reach running into multiple millions. Combining music with perfectly pitched observational comedy, his sketches regularly go viral, trend and are co-signed by some of the most famous names in international music including Drake and Stormzy.

Sarah Kendall

Norwich Playhouse, June 1

Nominated twice for the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show and Total Fringe Sell Out 2015, 2016, 2107, Australian comedian Sarah Kendall arrives as part of her UK tour with her latest show One-Seventeen. A blistering hour of storytelling from the creator and star of the hit BBC Radio 4 series Australian Trilogy, followed by work-in-progress for her new Edinburgh show. Her writing credits include Beehive (Channel 4) and Comedy Cuts (ITV) both of which she also performed in.

David Baddiel

Norwich Theatre Royal, June 2

Following a sold out run at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory and two critically-acclaimed West End runs, David Baddiel brings his Olivier-nominated one-man show to Norwich. My Family: Not the Sitcom is a show about memory, ageing, infidelity, dysfunctional relatives, moral policing on social media, golf, and gay cats. A massively disrespectful celebration of the lives of David Baddiel’s late sex-mad mother, Sarah, and dementia-ridden father, Colin. Be offended on his behalf!

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