This week on the Comedy Cast Jo Brand is our Legend of Comedy, we have English stand-up comedian Ken Cheng on to speak about his Edinburgh Fringe Show, Best Dad Ever, Irish punk band Jobseekers tell us all about why punk is so important and myself and Seamus speak about baby poo and why Bill Cosby is a pr!ck.
Hello and welcome back to a brand new episode of The Comedy Cast, comedy podcast. We kick off the show in dark form, we delve straight into why some comedians are allowed make dark jokes about horrible things and why someone thought it was a good idea to give Kevin James a comedy special.
This gets us talking about all of the new plethora of Netflix comedy specials out there and even though there are some great ones there’s an awful amount of crap out there too and we’re looking at you America, we’re blaming you for making bad comedians famous. We speak about some of the good ones out there and y’know, it’s kind of like this, the more popular something is the worse it’s going to be. Have a look at some of the names you don’t know and you’ll find the odd gem.
This week sees the release of the Leaving Cert and A Level results in the UK, so we speak about our experiences of finishing secondary school, or high school if you must and we find out one of the lads did very badly, the other one didn’t do it at all. And here’s the bit where we say you don’t need a Leaving Cert. And we’re not going to write that, coz really nobody cares about your results, move on. Your exam results for your memory-based tests mean very little in the grand old scheme of things.
We speak about the pressure young people find themselves under now with exams and this new strange phenomenon of children graduating from classes in primary and secondary school between the years. What the bejaysus is that all about?
Baby poo is the next topic, Spud shares a moment that all parents must go through, it can be a harrowing experience for some, it’s ones of these things most people are a little too uncomfortable to speak about but you know us, we’re not too shy to speak about what the dweebs consider taboo.
Ken Cheng Interview
Our comedy guest this week is English stand-up comedian Ken Cheng. Ken was the winner of last year’s Dave Joke of the Fringe Award 2017. Ken is obviously up at this year’s Fringe Festival in Edinburgh again so we speak about his new show, Best Dad Ever. We also speak about how weird it is to have your entire show boiled down to one single sentence of a joke and judged on that. Saying that though, it’s still a pretty cool thing to win. Ken’s show is based on his unconventional relationship with his parents so we speak a little about that without giving the show away. We also speak about why you should still do spots even when doing a full solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and why he used to write science fiction about his stuffed toys as a child.
We also speak about Ken being a former professional poker player and his flirtation with studying mathematics when younger. And finally we speak about some of the opportunities Ken has had thanks to last year’s success at the Fringe and why with radio you can be a bit more experimental than with television.
You can get tickets for Ken Cheng’s Edinburgh Fringe Show here.
Spud and Seamus are back then and we go to town on that horrible man Bill Cosby. Cosby this week said that being declared a sexually violent predator will damage his reputation. Like, is this guy for real? How can anybody be that deluded? We show him no mercy. And we speak about why he’s respected at all in comedy, was he ever funny?
Next up we speak about being underappreciated in work following the news that a parrot told a fireman to eff off when the poor devil tried to rescue him. Spud tells a bit of a bizarre story about a recent job stalking him on LinkedIn, why would you fire someone and then check their LinkedIn profile 12 times in 14 days? What the hell is going on? Seamus has a good story about defending the honour of a 16 year old lady in work and for doing so he was sent home from work. The working world is a weird place man, be a freelancer and work at home, it’s far better for your head.
Our music interview is next, we have Colin Kelly and John Donlon from the Irish punk band Jobseekers. Now, I’m an old punk at heart so I was really excited to have these lads on, it’s high energy, political punk and the boys make no apology for their music and they shouldn’t ever. There’s too many bands with nothing to say and Jobseekers have loads to say. We speak about the changes the band has gone through over the years, how they discovered the type of punk that they wanted to play and the state of punk music in Ireland. We speak too about trying to remain punk in a world of rampant consumerism and commercialism. Can you use Facebook and be a punk? Can I wear adidas and be a punk? It’s not an easy way of life to follow but the reward is knowing that you do things on your own terms.
You can listen to some of Jobseekers’ songs here.
Finally then we have our Legends of Comedy section and we induct our first female comedian, or should it be comedienne? We have none other than Jo Brand joining the ranks this week.
Legends of Comedy
Jo Brand was born on July 23rd, 1957 in Hastings, y’know the place where there was a famous battle, even though really it happened 10km from Hastings in what is now a small town called Battle, so really the 1066 Battle of Hastings should be called the Battle of Battle…anyway, Brand studied to become a Mental Nurse and worked as a Psychiatric Nurse for around 10 years before getting into stand-up comedy.
It was Malcolm Hardee, a name familiar with the nerdiest of the comedy nerds among you who encouraged Jo Brand to get into the blossoming ‘alternative comedy’ scene in England of the 70s and 80s and unfortunately for her, she quickly acquired the stage name, the ‘Sea Monster’
Jo Brand’s first flirtation with national media was on the Channel 4 television programme Saturday Night even though she actually appeared on it when it was called Friday Night in 1988.The clip is on YouTube, so look it up. It’s where she make her joke about sleeping like a baby, waking up and shitting herself in her sleep which has been much stolen by many a comic over the years since.
Jo Brand’s first gig was a disaster, the promoter wouldn’t let her go on till last which meant she has drank 7 pints before going on stage and desperately needed a piss, during the performance she was heckled non stop and when her time finally camel to an end she walked off stage to a deafening silence. I’m sure many people listening will have experienced a similar setting.
In the 1990s and 2000s her career really took off as the comedians of the earlier alternative scene were now very much in the mainstream. Thanks to her success after appearing on Ben Elton’s Saturday Night, Channel 4 gave her her own sketch and stand-up show which ran for three years between 1993 and 1996, called Jo Brand Through the Cakehole
Jo Brand has made regular appearances on TV panel programmes over the years such as QI, Have I Got News for You and in 2011 she won a Best TV Comedy Actress award for Getting On, a satirical sitcom about the NHS which she co-wrote, co-created and obviously starred in. She has though also appeared on dross such as Would I Lie to You, by far the single worst comedy panel show ever commissioned by a person who thinks they know what comedy is (anything with Lee Mack, David Mitchell and Rob Brydon deserves a slow, torturous death).
Brand’s comedy has evolved much over the year, instead of the deadpan one line observational quips she would make in the 80s, she’s still very much from the observational side of comedy but has become far more of a story teller when on stage. Her appearances on Have I Got News for You are some of the best moments of the long running BBC show and to finish off, we can say that hands down she has done more for getting females into comedy than any other female comedian in Britain.
When asked about why did she decide that she wanted to be funny….”If you’re a fat person – and especially if you’re a woman – at all stages of your life you’ll get abuse for it, so you have to work out a way of dealing with it. The best way is to be humorous about it – that defuses any tension.”
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