16 reasons to laugh in January

Comedy feature pix 9/1/14

Comedy feature pix 9/1/14 - Credit: Archant

Christmas and New Year are memories but January blues need not kick in - even if it is claimed to be the most depressing month of the year. SIMON PARKIN picks comedy shows that'll cheer you up.

Comedy feature pix 9/1/14

Comedy feature pix 9/1/14 - Credit: Archant

Russell Kane

Norwich Theatre Royal, January 13, 7.30pm, £17.50-£5.50, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk As part of his Smallness tour, the be-quiffed 33-year-old Essex boy, will grace several stages in the region in the next few weeks. The award-winning funnyman will be spouting thoughts about smallness; on keeping things small when life gets big. Kane has appeared on numerous TV panel shows and first entered the mainstream as the presenter of Big Brother's Big Mouth, following on from fellow Russell, Russell Brand. He also appears on Live At The Electric on BBC Three tomorrow introducing a collection of the brightest and funniest stars in sketch, stand-up, short film and music. He will also be at Cambridge Corn Exchange on February 8 and at King's Lynn Corn Exchange on March 3.

Amanda Kelleher

Cambridge Junction, January 10, 7.30pm, £12 (£10 cons), 01223 511511, www.junction.co.uk Mean Things I Did To My Sister is a brand new comedic blues treat from Amanda Kelleher, actor, director, screen writer, comedy blues maker, cake baker, tea drinker and stand-up. She brings her Irish wit to Cambridge Junction for one night. With up to five live musicians on stage, she will explore the various twists and turns of a life lived on the edge via new comedy blues songs.

Luke Wright's Stand-Up Poetry Club

Diss Corn Hall, January 10, 8pm, £8 (£6.50 cons), 01379 652241, www.disscornhall.co.uk For his first Stand-Up Poetry Club of 2014, Norwich poet extrodinaire Luke Wright plays host to Ross Sutherland, the man with whom he started poetry collective Aisle16. His work is modern, irreverent and most importantly here also very funny. Think Chris Morris doing a turn as a space age impressionist and you're getting there. It'll be ace.

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Fat Cat Comedy Club

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, January 12, 8pm, £12, 01284 758000, www.theapex.co.uk Bury's great monthly comedy night returns for its first 2014 laugh-fest. The line-up includes Susan Murray, winner of the first ever Jongleurs competition and a seasoned regular on the stand-up circuit. She is also in an all girl sketch troop Flip the Bird. Also on the bill is acclaimed Edinburgh performer John Fothergill, who TV appearances include Live at Jongleurs and The Stand Up Show. He's now a member of the 'impressive and influential' cutting edge team at London's famous Comedy Store.

New Comedy Night

The Birdcage, Pottergate, Norwich, January 13, 8pm, £2 adv/£4 door, 01603 633534, www.thebirdcagenorwich.co.uk It's a new year and The Birdcage has got some upcoming local talent who will make you laugh. Featuring Bisha K. Ali, Philip Jones, George Holborn, Jack Valentine Sinclair, Robert Cooke, Farhan Mitha, Matt Hayward, Rob Page, Josh Bunting, Elliot Wengler, Steve Dunn. MC is Joe Frost.

Miles Jupp

Norwich Playhouse, January 16/18, 8pm, £14 (£12 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk The ever so posh but ever so funny comedian arrives for two nights at Norwich Playhouse this month. The writer and star of Rev, The Thick Of It and Spy - plus numerous panel show appearances on TV and radio - will be discussing (in no particular order): himself, domestic imprisonment, fatherhood, having to have opinions, hot drinks, the bloody government, bad balance, housing, ill health, the ageing process, navigation and other people's pants. Bits of it will be quite mild-mannered, and some of it will probably be a tad on the stroppy side. He started his stand-up career with victories in two new act competitions in 2001 - Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny and the Leicester Festival of The Year award. Two years later he was nominated for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award. He will be back for a third date on February 17 too.

Sean Hughes

Norwich Playhouse, January 17, 8pm, £16 (£14 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk Still edgy, still dark, Sean's ever evolving stand-up tackles the issues of the day and the topics that matter most to him. He was last in Norfolk with a show about the death of his father. His latest multi-layered new show sees him ask the question - is a man the sum of his parts? In a reflective and uplifting piece, he tackles all nature of human failings and foibles. Taking the audience on a whirlwind hour of surreal inventive playfulness, he will be delving into his past - from career guidance teachers and an angry monk to older brothers and losing his virginity. The show, full of surprises, hidden twists and recurring themes, has been described as multi-layered and up there with his Perrier award winning show A One Night Stand.

Andrew Lawrence

Cambridge Junction, January 24, 8pm, £15 (£13 cons), 01223 511511, www.junction.co.uk You may have seen him on BBC1's Live At The Apollo, or heard his own BBC Radio 4 series How Did We End Up Like This?, but here Andrew Lawrence presents his latest stand-up show of all new material. He is not yet be a household name, but give this spikily inventive performer the time of day will realise they're in the presence of an A-list talent. 2014 may be the year he finally makes that breakthrough, so catch him now while you still can. Few people have caught the irritated, misanthropic mood of the moment better than his supreme misfit persona. Is your life so awful you sometimes wish you could disappear completely and never be found? Then perhaps this is the stand-up show for you!

Russell Howard

Norwich Playhouse, January 20-23, 8pm, returns only, 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk It's reputation amongst performers is so great that Norwich Playhouse is able to punch well above its size when it comes to attracting big name comedians. It has also in recent years become a well worth path for arena-sized comics to test out new material on a smaller audience. And that can only be good news for comedy fans. The latest arriving with work in progress is the star and creator of the award-winning hit TV show Russell Howard's Good News, returning to his first love, live stand-up, as he tries out material and warms up for his forthcoming sold-out tour. This is your chance to see one of our funniest and most successful comedians in an intimate setting. As you'd expect, tickets are like gold dust.

Sarah Millican

Ipswich Regent, January 24-25, 8pm, £27.50, 01473 433100, www.ipswichregent.com A Bafta nomination for her TV show, multi-million pound earnings from DVDs – nothing can go wrong for the Geordie comedian at the moment. Five years ago when novice standup comedian Sarah Millican warily stood under a spotlight at her first Edinburgh Fringe Festival venue, now she is one of the biggest names on the circuit and the only female comedian able to compete in terms of arena sized ticket sales. On this, her third national tour, you will learn what to take on a dirty weekend, the easiest way to blend in in posh restaurants and how to teach a pensioner to swear. She is also at Cambridge Corn Exchange on February 6-7.

Corn Hall Comedy Club

Diss Corn Hall, January 24, 8pm, £9 adv/£10 door, 01379 652241, www.disscornhall.co.uk Another of the region's regular comedy nights, Corn Hall Comedy Club also has an interesting line-up and they haven't disappointed us with the first of 2014. Heading the bill is Tiffany Stevenson who kicked off her comedy career in 2006. Since then she has starred in ITVs Show Me the Funny, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, The Office and appeared in the West End alongside David Tennant. Her original observations, fantastically sharp lines are spot on says none other than Jo Brand (and she should know). Sickeningly talented young stand-up Rhys Jamesis also on the bill. He's a super-sharp writer, with a ton of smart, intricately-written jokes and stories where you're never more than a few seconds away from another punchline. Big things await. Compere for the night will be Luke Graves.

Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Bum Notes

Norwich Playhouse, January 24, 8pm, £14 (£12 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk Amateur Transplants front-man Adam Kay returns on a solo jaunt which will see him simply sits at a piano and sing smutty songs. With a string of sell-out tours and Edinburgh Fringe seasons, his cutting-edge, darkly humorous re-imaginings of pop and rock classics have gained him a cult following across the UK. Adam has had three number one albums in the iTunes comedy charts and over 20 million hits on YouTube - including the iconic London Underground Song.

Rob Beckett

Norwich Playhouse, January 30, 8pm, £12 (£10 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk Seen recently hosting the spin-off ITV2 show I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here… Now!, Rob Beckett and his trademark grin are back to the evening job this month when he kicks off a UK tour, arriving in our region at the tailed of the month. The stand-up, who last year appeared on Live at the Apollo, Mock The Week, 8 out of 10 Cats and Celebrity Juice, will be bringing the extended Rob Beckett Live tour to Norwich Playhouse. The South Londoner has been a visitor to this region for one-off dates, this is the first time he comes with his own show as part of a national tour. A likeable comic he specialises in an alluring mix of well-made observations, imaginative metaphors and a stylish take on his supposed doppelgangers.

King's Lynn Comedy Club

King's Lynn Corn Exchange, January 30, 8.45pm, £8.50, 01553 764864, www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk The first of the year for this monthly comedy night is the chance for a good laugh to brighten up the dark January nights. Comedian, actor and writer Barry Castagnola has firmly established himself as an accomplished comic performer. His easy going style, mixing hilarious personal stories with some sharp social and political comment, have made him a favourite with audiences at comedy clubs up and down the UK. Ben Van Der Velde has been dizzying himself on the stand up merry go round for the past three years. He is currently resident compere for the Student Comedy Hub where he has compered for acts such as Paul Sinha, Josie Long, Idiots of Ants, Pat Monahan, Adam Bloom, Paul Foot and Trevor Lock. Holly Walsh has featured on many of the top TV comedy shows including, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Would I Lie To You? and Mock The Week. She is often heard on radio and has appeared on shows such as The Unbelievable Truth, The Now Show, and Charlie Brooker's So Wrong It's Right for Radio 4. Compere is Paddy Lennox a comic who's star is rapidly becoming to rise. Red Card Comedy Club

Carrow Road, Norwich, January 30, 7.30pm, £12, 0844 8261902, www.redcardcomedyclub.com Four more comics, some familiar to regulars, some not, will be taking to the stage at the Red Card night of the year at Carrow Road. Seen on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, and BBC1's One Night Stand, Irish comic Keith Farnan has recently moved to the UK and has quickly become much in demand as a headline act. Brilliant, thought-provoking and laugh out loud funny, he has been compared to Eddie Izzard. As former integral part of the Perrier award-winning show Otis Lee Crenshaw and the Black Liars, with comic/songster Rich Hall, Christian Reilly will be offering comic songs, improvisations and sharp wit. One of the top black comedians on the UK comedy circuit, Rudi Lickwood is a fast talker who shoots from the hip; he can be rude, crude, and sometimes downright insulting but it's all done so with friendliness and a charismatic grin. MC for the night is Tiernan Douieb.

Hal Cruttenden

Cambridge Junction, January 31, 8pm, £14, 01223 511511, www.junction.co.uk Following stand out performances on Live At The Apollo, Let's Dance For Comic Relief, The Royal Variety Performance and Mock The Week, Hal Cruttenden is being strongly tipped as the next big thing. The fast-rising comic arrives this month with his latest show Tough Luvvie. His comedy is simultaneously warm and catty, straight and camp - it's a lovely mix that has made him a regular guest on John Bishops's Only Joking and led to not one, but two sitcoms being produced this year. Footballers, Facebook and food are just three of the subjects he devours in a mix of camp and straight, warm and catty humour.

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