If you want to see the heir of the late American comedian Bill Hicks performing, where do you look?
Not in British comedy clubs where Bill Hicks is the comedians’ comedian. Certainly not in America, where Bill Hicks only came to most people’s attention fairly recently.
If you are going to perform for over three weeks at the always potentially rainy and windy Edinburgh Fringe in August, it is best to make your show about a glamorous subject simply on the basis that the research will cheer you up.
I once had to write an encyclopaedia entry on Christianity in (as far as I remember) 23 lines. This was a nightmare. Almost as soon as it started, Christianity started to splinter apart into sects, sub-sects and competing sub-sub-sects.
I Skyped Berlin-based British entertainer Sonny Hayes at the weekend.
“Anything glamorous coming up?” I asked.
“At the end of January, we go to Hawaii for ten months…”
“Lucky bastard,” I said.
“…which we’ve just found out is very radioactive,” continued Sonny. “The after-effect of the nuclear power plant exploding in Japan. It’s not safe to eat fish, which I was looking forward to.
Last night, I went to the launch of comedy writer/performer Dave Cohen’s latest publication How To Be Averagely Successful at Comedy - it aims to be “a practical and funny book explaining how to make a living at comedy”.
In England, I guess the two most vividly-remembered crimes of the late 20th century were the Great Train Robbery in 1963 and the shooting of George Cornell by Ronnie Kray in the Blind Beggar pub in 1966.
Yesterday, I had tea at the May Fair Hotel in London with Micky Fawcett whose memoir Krayzy Days has, quite rightly, been called the “definitive” book about iconic 1960s criminals the Kray Twins. Micky was on their 'firm’.
The other interesting factor is the rise of ‘free’ shows which are, in effect, indoor busking: you do not pay in advance; you pay whatever you want (or nothing) having seen the show.
British comedy critic Kate Copstick has been running her Mama Biashara charity in Kenya, her trip there coincided with the terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall.
With less than a year to go before the referendum on Scottish independence and with support in Scotland running at a reported 25%, I thought it would be interesting to ask London-based, Scots stand-up comedian, Del Strain for his opinion.