Welcome to the first of what will be an annual list of Tiemo Talk of the Town’s Top 10 stand up Comedians. Our first list features the best out of all those we saw “live” in 2014.
There are of course hundreds of wonderfully funny Comedians gracing British stages all year round and it’s just not possible to see every Comedian, so doubtless there will be some favourites of yours missing from our list. However, whether or not you agree, we hope you might take the time to go and see these performers during the year.
We look forward to reading your views on the list, those you agree with and the names of those you would have included in your list.
10. Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird is a very good comedian, who delivers creative and original stand up comedy. He is very adept at amusingly conveying every day events in his own inimitable fashion.
There’s a nice warmth to his humour too, which impressed. I expect good things from Andrew Bird in 2015.
Andrew Bird at the Hammersmith Apollo, 2010
9. Richard Blackwood
Man of the moment (January 2015) Richard Blackwood had a great start to 2014 with a high profile one man show at the prestigious IndigO2. His first solo show for 10 years. He delivered a terrific 2 hour show that showcased why he’s been at the top of his game for over 20 years. He is a terrific story teller. A true expert in the art of delightfully spinning out anecdotes to humorous effect.
After a few years break from being full-time on the stand-up comedy scene due to acting in the West End musical Shrek, 2014 was a successful and well received return to Richard’s stand up comedy roots. He announced that this was going to be followed up with a UK tour but that didn’t materialise, which was a pity as I feel that after so many years in the business, it would have been good for him to tour nationally.
In December 2013 Richard scored a hat-trick at Wembley, winning 3 Black Comedy Awards at Wembley’s Crystal Banqueting Hall. The awards were earned for ‘Best Stand-Up Comedy Host’, ‘Best Supporting Actor – Shrek’ and ‘Best Comedy Theatre – Shrek’.
These awards and overall acting achievements in Shrek, Holby City, Cinderella and other shows have contributed to Richard achieving arguably his biggest acting gig to date, for on 17th January 2015, it was announced that he is joining Eastenders as the new villain to replace “Nasty” Nick Cotton. That’s huge and has been universally celebrated by his fans and the general public alike.
Richard’s first appearance will be in the show’s celebratory live episode week, w/c 16th February 2015, which will mark the top soap’s 30th anniversary. It will also be the episode when viewers discover who killed Lucy Beale. Surely it couldn’t possibly be Richard Blackwood? Could it?
Richard Blackwood review – Live and Uncut. IndigO2, 11th January 2014
8. Trevor Noah
South African comedian Trevor Noah, who featured as the #1 rated comedian in our Top 10 list of Black comedians to look out for in 2014 (by far and away our most read blog of 2014 – see link at the end of this blog), had a great start to the year with a sold out show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
He was on fine form and showed just why Londoner’s have taken him to their hearts. I loved the way he pokes fun at our British idiosyncrasies, our weather and attitudes. We learn a thing or two as well re South African crime levels, South Africa’s views on Shrien Dewani (recently cleared of the allegation of organising the murder of his wife during their honeymoon) and generally learn something about his multi-cultural upbringing. All this told in his delightful storytelling, anecdotal manner.
Trevor had a great year and justified his billing as the #1 comedian to look out for in 2014.
Trevor Noah – The racist revisited. Shepherds Bush O2, London. 24th January 2014. Tiemo review
7. Shappi Khorsandi
After a year out from comedy (2013) to have a baby, Shappi Khorsandi returned to the comedy stage in 2014 with ‘Shappi Khorsandi: Because I’m Shappi’.
Her growing family (in more ways than one) lent itself nicely to great gags about single motherhood, segue waying neatly into interesting and edgy tales of life in the hood.
Like her mid-wives, Shappi delivers classy, well put together products! Her “product” covered a wide range of themes, including youthful school day friendships set against newer adult friendships, relationships, politics, parenthood and standing up (or not) for what’s right .
I love the theatrical, almost thespian aspect to her shows, as she showcases her varied repertoire of accents and expressions. Shappi is a terrific, amiable and very funny comedian and also featured, as do a number of others here, on the list of the top 10 shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe. See link at the end of this review.
Shappi Khorsandi: Because I’m Shappi review
6. Tiff Stevenson
Tiff Stevenson’s spent 2014 touring her one woman show ‘The Optimist.’ It is a superb show that is consistently funny from start to finish, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns, highs and lows. It featured one or two dark, incredibly bleak moments where she reveals all about her past battles with depression and her attempt at suicide whilst a teenager. This was a shock and extremely sad to hear about, more so during the week I saw her (August 2014) when the legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams took his life. This made her past struggles all the more poignant.
This gave the show an edge, a real rawness, that created a wonderful show, blending pathos and Tiff’s vulnerability with plenty of cracking jokes. As a bonus the audience saw, perhaps for the first time, a demonstration of her full repertoire as an entertainer, with Tiff singing and dancing away with abandon. Who knows, maybe we’ll see her on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ next?
Edinburgh Fringe review – Tiff Stevenson – The Optimist
5. Kevin J
Kevin J impressed greatly with his show stopping performance at the ‘How the West Was Won’ show at the O2 Shepherds Bush in May 2014. Considering that line up included award winning comedian’s Curtis Walker, Richard Blackwood and Slim that was no mean feat. The reason he makes this list is that his set was packed with killer jokes that showcased a personal, original side to them. Hearing an African accent floating out from the voice of a young white boy from North London was a real blast.
He took this set to Edinburgh for his first Edinburgh Fringe in August 2014 and went down a storm. His show made our Top 10 list of the best Edinburgh Fringe 2014 shows. Kevin J is a most worthy entrant onto this list.
4. Rory O’Hanlon
If you love good old fashioned, rapid fire gags, Rory O’Hanlon’s your man. The Irish Comedian wowed audience’s with ‘Have jokes will travel’ show. Rory has a great repertoire of jokes that flowed as rapidly and effortlessly as the water does along Edinburgh’s Leith river.
Rory O’Hanlon – Have jokes will travel review.
3. Paul Chowdhry
Paul Chowdhry’s PC World was one of the best shows of the year filled with great audience interaction and fine material. Putting political correctness squarely in the line of fire, Paul Chowdhry got audiences laughing away and thinking too. A straw poll he did at the Edinburgh Fringe show I attended happened to generate by far our most popular blog of the year in terms of responses. There was a passionate, but enlightening debate about the pro’s v con’s of gay marriage and gay relationships per se looked at from the legitimacy angle – biblically, morally and spiritually.
The audience response to a question posed at his shows, indicated that we do we do live in a PC world. The pertinent question is does being politically correct equate to being biblically, morally and spiritually correct?
You can read and join in the debate here
2. Ricky Grover
Eastender Ricky Grover easily provided one of the most outstanding sets of comedy I’d seen all year, with a superb performance at the long running Comedy Bunker show in December 2014. It was innovative, engaging, with plenty of biting humour. He was equally brilliant at being hilariously self –deprecating, as well as taking the rise out of his audience (maybe quite literally who knows!!) at this particular gig. If you read the review below you’ll get that last comment.
Ricky’s been doing stand up for 20 years now, but doesn’t gig a lot nowadays so if you get the opportunity to see him in 2015, I would encourage you to do so.
Ricky Grover review – 5 December 2014.
1. Jim Davidson
Veteran Comedian Jim Davidson returned to his stand up comedy roots with his first UK tour for some years. It was incredibly well received and played to packed houses up and down the country. His very personal show was hilariously revealing about his upbringing and his involvement in the Operation Yewtree investigation into historic sex abuse allegations.
Even though he’s been a famous face for over 40 years now, it was fascinating and insightful to learn about his Scottish roots. The tales about his Father were side splittingly funny, that forced tears of laughter to roll down the face.
He even turned the serious business of how he got caught up in the Operation Yewtree investigation into jokes galore (well a whole tour, book and DVD) and an opportunity to share some personal anecdotes about some of the nation’s most well known entertainers such as the late Frank Carson, Freddie Starr and the now deceased and disgraced Jimmy Saville. Not only that, but we got a real sense of how the police went about the business of investigating and interviewing him in a fishing expedition manner in an attempt to entrap him with false allegations dressed up as facts.
The show title ‘No further action’ refers of course to his innocence and the police statement that no further action would be taken against him, which brought his nightmare to an end. That was all well and good of course, but it cost him, an innocent man, a lot of money, which he hoped to recoup by turning his year from hell into a money spinning show, book and DVD.
He showed audiences that he still had it. In spades. For that reason Jim Davidson earns top spot as the best show we’d seen in 2014.
What are your views on our list?
Do you agree or disagree with our list? Who would be on your Top 10 list of shows you saw in 2014?
Do bear in mind that this list comprises the best of the shows 10 Tiemo Talk of the Town saw. We fully recognise that there are hundreds of brilliant comedians out there, many of whom are household names, plus countless more out there yet to make it onto TV. We can’t see everyone and even if we had, I’m confident a number of those listed would still have made the Top 10.
Notwithstanding the established, professional comedians out there, there can be some great fun and laughter to be had checking out new comedic talent trying to get a break.
We encourage you to support those listed above as well as up and coming talent by attending live comedy nights and open mic nights at smaller venues with unknown comedians. You never know, you could catch a star of the future that in years to come you’ll be watching on television or paying big bucks to see at a huge arena and who knows, they might even make the Top 10 list of best shows of 2015.
Thank you for reading. We hope you enjoyed the blog and that if you did will share it with others who have the same interest and may also appreciate the opportunity to read it.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
Top 10 up and coming UK Comedians to look out for in 2015 – new talent
Our most read Blog of 2014 – Top 10 Black Comedians to look out for in 2014
Top 10 Best shows and places at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014