Daniel Simonsen – No Net

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For three nights in a row I’ve found myself watching Daniel Simonsen’s ever changing show at The Bill Murray as part of the Camden Fringe. This year he has two shows: No Net, and Net. The first show is completely unscripted as he speaks about whatever pops into his head, or maybe tries to improve on routines that he came up with the night before.

Daniel Simonsen won the best newcomer award at the Edinburgh Fringe 5 years ago, but I think most of these audiences know him as Bob Mortimer’s oddball son from the brilliant “House Of Fools”. That’s what I gathered from my pre-show eavesdropping anyway!

The first show I saw on Sunday, Daniel was not really enjoying it. He felt uncomfortable and didn’t have any confidence in himself. I know that because Daniel told us straight up, which I think made a lot of the audience lose trust in him, which meant the show was never really going to recover. There were some great bits though, such as his long explanation of why red is his favourite colour and telling us that his nickname growing up was ‘Crying Daniel’. But there were real belly laughs all round when he decided to try out a few different accents.

The next night there was a much smaller audience in, and Daniel expressed surprise that I was back, having seen the show the previous night. I did tell him that it really wasn’t as bad as he thought it was! But this show was blisteringly funny! The Crying Daniel routine was lengthened, and there were far fewer silences than the night before. Sadly he had dropped his Irish accent this time which was a shame, because it’s such a lot of fun to hear someone with such a distinctive accent try some other ones.

I found back there on Tuesday, and again another superb show. The accents were back and Crying Daniel was even stronger. The only thing that spoiled it was two annoying audience members who insisted on a Q&A session, with one of them in particular being downright rude by asking Daniel “What’s the best joke you have?” Daniel told them he doesn’t really do jokes, but he thought for a bit and left the stage with a wonderfully out of character piece of smut!

Net is slowly evolving from No Net, and as the days go on I fully expect this to be a totally joyful, funny, five star show. There are three more No Nets left before Net begins. Check the Angel Comedy website for dates and times.

Daniel Simonsen on Russell Howard’s Good News

Daniel as Eric on “House OF Fools”

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Sanders, Brown and Dean

So after a long boozy lunch with a mate in Kings Cross I decided it was time to head home. My bus stop is just round the corner from 2Northdown, and I was flagged down by none other than Lou Sanders outside the venue. She was on at any moment, so in  I went and took my seat.

Garett Millerick was the compere for this show, and he was as angry as ever, primarily about his credit card’s customer service team. As a customer service person myself, I identified with the poor lady on the other end of the phone! Even though he did two short regular sets rather than making the audience feel at ease or chatting to them, he was very funny.

Lou’s show this year is all based around shame. She told us a few stories while singing her ‘shame’ jingle as she didn’t have it with her, and also spotted a lady in the front row who wasn’t enjoying it as much as the rest of us! We were having a great time! Lou’s time ended (or did it? No one is sure) but she was soon off to her next gig of the night.

I had spotted Larry Dean outside the venue too when I arrived and I assumed it was just him on next but no. The next act announced was Alfie Brown. I have seen him a few times and I have seen the audience react in different ways! But his ISIS/Daesh material worked well tonight, and there wasn’t too much material that could shock too much.

I had gone to The Bill Murray a few months ago to see Larry Dean and sadly the show was pulled. Not tonight though thankfully! I haven’t seen him live before but had checked out quite a few YouTube clips. He didn’t disappoint, telling us about the struggles of his long distance relationship with his boyfriend in Australia and occasionally lapsing into a character doing ‘London Observational Comedy’. Josh Widdicombe perhaps?

A great night, that I cut short early cos my tiredness was getting to me. It was the always brilliant Max and Ivan on next, but I knew I needed to get home. So thanks to Lou Sanders for grabbing me and the chap from 2Northdown (whose name I have shamefully forgotten) for inviting me in.

Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast: A Bit Of Fry And Herring

I have tickets to all 6 RHLSTPs this season, and having attended the first very funny and rather silly episode with Chris Addison, where the focus was on who had smashed the kitchen cupboards in the flat they shared with Stewart Lee, Dan Antopolski and Richard Thomas in 1992, which has been an ongoing mystery for a number of years, this week’s show was the one that I was so looking forward to seeing. The wonderful Stephen Fry.

Trusting Richard’s bookings, I blindly bought all my front row seats. I know that next week I’m seeing Mary Beard and John Lloyd, but still don’t know for sure who will be the final 3 guests.

I met up with my new Twitter friend John Galantini (who does his own podcast which is worth listening to) at The Imperial, where we were soon joined by his fiancee Mary, as well as Sarah and a couple of her friends.

We headed to the venue and took our seats. Soon Richard was on stage to do his mainly improvised warm up. This was one of the best scriptless sets I’ve seen him do, even though he told us very early on that he was worried because Stephen Fry still hadn’t arrived. it was mainly good-natured audience banter with a pair of butlers, a nuclear physicist, and two odd lads who had taken their seats in Row B rather late. He spoke to “I Love London”, as he soon became known due to his hat, and this lad was desperate to be ignored. his coat was buttoned up, he had pulled his hat down, and of course this intrigued, and slightly worried Richard. His friend was a little more chatty but there was still something odd about his demeanour that Richard or the audience couldn’t put their fingers on. As Richard chatted to the physicist, pointing a handheld camera at him, demanding that he tell him how to make a nuclear bomb, a huge cheer erupted. Stephen was in the building! By the way, you can listen to this stand up set by searching on iTunes for RHLSTP or clicking this link here.

We took a short break where i paid my traditional visit to the Burger King toilets. Before I went I was chatting with a girl outside and we saw “I Love London” and his mate leave the venue, clearly with no intention of returning. This was both disappointing and a huge relief.

Stephen Fry has long been a hero of mine, and I have loved virtually everything he has done from when i first saw him (probably on Saturday Night Live, I’m not sure) through A Bit Of fry And Laurie, to QI and the various documentaries he has presented.

I’m not going to go into much detail about the content of the show. You can listen to the audio for free, or spend £3.50 and download the video from Go Faster Stripe, and I really recommend you do so. It’s such an astonishing interview in many ways.

Richard and Stephen had never met, and Rich seemed very nervous about meeting and chatting to his hero. However Stephen was as gracious, funny, warm and wordy as you would expect. We found out if Stephen had ever tried to suck his own cock, as well as if he would choose to have a ham-hand or an armpit that dispensed suncream. Stephen told us of his terror at performing at Sydney Opera House with no material whatsoever, and the irony of the show going so well that a second night was booked. Names were dropped, literary references abounded, and we got to hear a long discussion about 12th Night. Richard was getting more confident and challenged Stephen on the time-anomalies of his book “Making History” as well as dropping enormous hints about all the quite interesting facts he knows, which Stephen took in great fun,

Chris Evans (not that one) who runs Go Faster Stripe has a 12 year old son, and Richard decided to use some of his questions to ask Stephen. One was simply “What’s it like being Stephen Fry?” Fry thought about this and explained that it is generally a pleasant experience, as people tend to be nice to him, and he gets to travel so much and do things that he would never be able to do if he wasn’t Stephen Fry. Then candidly, and with totally brutal honesty tells us about the part of his life that is not so much fun. Stephen has been open for some time about his struggles with manic depression, and tonight his honesty and sincerity stunned the audience into complete attentive silence. There was a revelation that caused an audible gasp, and I think I will be thinking about this night for quite some time to come.

Kip Hakes, his mate Danny and I hung around with Richard’s web monkey Rob, and his wife Catie, hoping to get our picture taken with Stephen. We saw him briefly as he came out of the dressing room with Richard, but only had time for a brief chat with Catie and he was off into the night. I didn’t think it was appropriate to badger him for a photo.

Catie’s brother was also here, who I had drunkenly flirted with about a year ago. He asked for a cigarette and we went outside. I decided to deflect any awkwardness by apologising for my embarrassing actions last summer, but damn it! He didn’t remember. Now I’ve just created awkwardness where there was none. Anyway, after a short chat with Richard it was time to go.

What.
A.
Night.