Tour dates

So that is Edinburgh done for 2017. I have learnt that I am old now, and that I don’t always see getting drunk as a cure for everything anymore. I learnt that thanks to the symbiotic relationship between PR and an extremely complacent and lazy press, the Fringe will never remotely approach being a true meritocrcacy, but nonetheless great comics do succeed. Congrats to all the performers.

So it is now time to take this show on the road. I’m bloody proud of it, and I am looking forward to the travel. This show was developed around the UK and that is where it shall be seen. Many more dates will be added in the new year but for this autumn here we go……..

Saturday October 7th.

WINCHESTER – Discovery Arts Centre


Friday October 13th 

SOUTHPORT – Southport Comedy Festival, at the Bold Hotel


Friday October 20th

NEWCASTLE-UPON- TYNE – Stand Comedy Club


Sunday October 22nd

WETHERBY   – Wetherby Festival *double bill with Mitch Benn


Thursday November 2nd

LIVERPOOL – Hot Water Comedy Club


Friday November 3rd

COLWYN BAY – Theatre Colwyn


Thursday November 23rd

CORSHAM – Pound Arts Centre


Thursday November 30th

BROMSGROVE – Artrix Arts Centre

The Last Push.

I have been very lucky.  It is hard to moan when numbers have been good and reveiwers have been kind. I do wonder sometimes where my comedy career might be floundering without the veneer of minor celebrity, but so be it.

A summary thus far can be found here….


Whilst crossing every finger and touching all available wooden structures, my sanity, voice and health are all intact. I am damn proud of the show, even if on at least three occasions the audience seemed to majorly disagree. Such is the nature of the fringe. By far the most important audience member liked it though. My ex.

The Stand Comedy Club have been amazing. Across the rest of the Fringe are many great shows in terrible, illness-inducing venues* The uber professional staff at the Stand have ensured that my show starts at 1655 on the dot every day, and I never have even the slightest complaint. Various factors have served to geographically isolate the venues from the main hub of the Fringe, and the usual names who delude themselves into calling themselves comedy journalists,  have shamefully never ventured anywhere near, but the Stand remains a defiant network of excellent venues full of excellent people. I can’t see myself ever doing a show anywhere else.

*Monkey Barrel and the Tron are superb spaces.

As for other shows, well they have all been brilliant in their own ways. Hannah Gadsby, Glenn Wool, Matt Ewins have been rightly earning accolades, but it has been inspiring to watch so many acts of every level of status and skill busting a gut to bring their passion pieces to a wider audience. Themes that have recurred include mental illness, trauma, comedians whinging about comedians talking about mental illness and trauma, sexual experimentation, LGBT abbreviations, gay marriage, Trump, Brexit and especially lefty disillusionment with lefties. Despite this bleak sounding list, there is enough joyful silliness about as well. It is a bewilderingly massive and varied smorgasbord and any attempt to make crass and lazy generalisations would be crass and lazy.

Edinburgh seems to be struggling  though. Not the Festival, the city. As the festival expands exponentially, the strain on the city is palpable. It is a city of amazing sights and great bars and restaurants. But the time taken to get from A to B is getting longer, and on a Saturday night there is barely room to move in the Old Town. Meanwhile the Ibis Hotel on Nicholson Street continues to cheerfully advertise rooms for £250 and upwards.

But I am content. Proud that I have given it my best shot and that I have a new show to tour. The show is definitively not for the prurient, nor for those whose only interest in me is as a Chaser. I can also say without any doubt that I have no idea where this show would be without the help of friends, family, supportive promoters and especially my agent, and my boyfriend. And of course, lovely audiences.


Fringe begins.

It is here. At 1655 today, I take to the stage at the Stand Comedy Club for the first Fringe outing of Shout out to my Ex, my eighth full length Edinburgh show. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Little Mix, and everything to do with the fact that I still love Edinburgh, enough to only ever want to do a full run, and I believe that I have an interesting, feelgood and most importantly funny story to tell.

Preview season has been tough, in the sense that in May I had one quarter of a show, and although I knew what I was trying to do with the previews, audiences aren’t necessarily expecting a lack of slickness from a minor celebrity. But it has been creatively energizing to have taken so many steps way out of my comfort zone, and I am pleased to say that the last week and a half of preview shows have been deeply satisfying.

A quick summary of how Edinburgh has been for me thus far…..

2001 Big Value on a bill with Birdman, Cochrane and Micky Flanagan. Watched the “out Out” routine 25 times.

2004 First solo show about my hatred of “Love Actually”. I hope I convinced the 17 people who turned up that month of how bad the film was.

2005 Came up for 2 days. Saw Kitson. Suddenly realised how lazy and shit much of my writing had been.

2006 Surprise nomination for the prize leading to….

2007 A whole month of being a talked about comedian.

2008 A short run including my worst ever Fringe gig, involving me offering a punter 20 quid to leave, and him being cheered by the audience when he took it. I cried behind the stage for twenty minutes afterwards. It wasn’t the Pleasance’s fault, but in my head I decided I needed a new venue.

2009-2011 Warmly reviewed shows at the Stand 3

2015 “Postcards from the Z List” , my first post-Chase fringe show, and an experience I loved, feeling that the Stand Comedy Club helped make me less of a clumsy performer.


Sixteen years since I first performed at the fringe, and of course everything has changed. It is a bloated behemoth, with statistically far less chance of getting noticed. But that is good news for the punters who have never had more choices. My plan is to drink less, eat more healthily, and see and recommend a massive number of shows. I am aware that none of this is likely to become reality but its good to have ambitions. I will start with some recommendations, which come with no explanation….

Sophie Willan

Hannah Gadsby

Michael Legge

Seymour Mace

Matt Ewins

Ahir Shah


My main recommendation is ………….don’t go and see shows just becuse the act is on the telly. Unless it’s me.


The tawdry need for self-promotion awakens me from my six month blog slumber.I’m doing a new show at Edinburgh this year, called “Shout out to my Ex” which is attempting to be a feelgood look at acute heartbreak. I’ll be performing it at one of my alltime favourite comedy rooms, The Stand Comedy Club. Details here…..

What this means is that I am deep into preview season. This is my eighth solo show, and it never gets any easier. There are bits that really work, bits that never get any laughs, and bits that I dont know about because I always forget to deliver the material. It may sound ludicrously self-important to claim that it should be fascinating watching an established comedian performing way out of his/her comfort zone, but I believe it to be true. Please don’t expect it to be a finished product yet, and please dont expect it to be bland, clean and peppered with jokes about white suits.

I thought I only had twelve previews left. I have fifteen, and here they are.

Monday 3rd July

Good Ship Comedy

289 Kilburn High Road


Tuesday 4th July

Red Imp Comedy



Thursday 6th July

The Courtyard

Wickersley, South Yorks


Friday 7th July

Chorlton Irish Club, Manchester


Saturday 8th July

Darwen Library Theatre, Darwen Lancs


Sunday 9th July

Off the Rails Comedy Club, Hebden Bridge



Friday 14th July

Comedy Cellar, Bracknell


Saturday 15th July

Northampton Playhouse


Thursday 20th July

Last Laugh Comedy

Lescar, Sheffield


Friday 21st July

Rotherham Civic Theatre


Saturday 22nd July

Great Yorkshire Fringe, York


Saturday 22nd July      A second preview!

Brighouse, West yorks


Tuesday 25th July

XS Malarkey, Manchester


Wednesday 26th July

Comedy Box, Bristol


Thursday 27th July

Keighley Comedy Club

Sunday 30th July

Milton Keynes Comedy Cow Festival

Oh yes I did.

It seems an eternity ago that my agent told me that I had been offered the part of Abanazar in a production of Aladdin at the Grand Opera House in York. My immediate instinct was to turn it down. I can’t sing, I can’t dance and my acting experience had been limited to the occasional medical revue. The idea of spending Christmas away from the family when I have a young nephew and niece did not enthuse. “But just find out how much the money is, just in case”

Two days later “Bradley. Can I have a word? I have just been offered the part of Abanazar in panto. Do you realistically think I can do it?”

And the vastly talented king of light entertainment, a true panto A lister, listened to the question. His eyes lit up and he said “Do it. It will be the most fun that you have ever had”.

It has been well documented that December is not a fun time for comedians. This was my chance to do something different. This was an opportunity to step way, way outside my comfort zone. I had no relationship with panto. I had never seen one, and knew nothing of its traditions and tropes. All I knew of Aladdin was from having watched the Disney movie in 1993. Crucially, I had no idea that by me saying yes, they had just cast a man with no acting experience into a massively important role.

When I first met the cast for rehearsals, that is when I realised the scale of the task. They were all so effortlessly talented and experienced. In amongst this cast of showbiz veterans and natural movers, was me, a man who makes John Sergeant look like Gene Kelly. I cast my mind back to November 1995, one of my first comedy gigs, dying on my arse while Harry Hill looked on, trying his best to look sympathetic. Suddenly I was an open spot again.

The dress rehearsal was one of the most dispiriting days of my life. Nothing went right. I was nervy, fluffed lines, props and scenes. Nobody really came out of it with their dignity intact. And yet, one day later, on the afternoon of Friday 9th December, I had to walk on stage as Abanazar and get the ball rolling. I walked on. And 500 kids booed their hearts out. And it felt amazing. And then a few days later, the reviews came in. The panto was great. Apart from the guy who played Abanazar, who really wasn’t very good.

I was gutted. I’m used to getting bad reviews from witless strangers on twitter. This was different. This made me feel embarrassed. I felt like a contestant on Faking It who had really, really tried his best but hadn’t quite made it. The difference was, there were still 30+ shows to go. I had  choices. Organise a longstanding personal vendetta against each of the reviewers, losing all dignity in the process. Start a hunger strike until the reviewers were forced to admit that they had unrealistic expectations of a man with no acting experience. Walk out of the production and flee to Belgium. The one option that sounded the best, though was….”You are having the time of your life. The good reviews for the show will guarantee audiences. You are working with people you utterly adore. Listen to their friendly advice, work harder and get better. Pantomime is a team game. So get over yourself.”

Team game. Stand up comedy is anything but. It is a lonely, neurotic, narcissistic journey. When Bradley had told me how much I would enjoy panto, he meant being part of a group who were all working for each other and not for themselves. If I had stopped enjoying being Abanazar because of what a critic had said, my unprofessionalism would have damaged the whole production. I desperately did not want to be that dick.

I’m back home now. I gave it everything I had for the remaining 30+ shows and I hope I improved. Pantomime, a genre I had always ignored, gave me the best month of my life. York, both the city and the Grand Opera House, was a magnificent host, and the cast, from the better known names to the stupendously talented but less heralded names made me feel humbled by how good they were. And the audiences, from people in the first year of life to people in their 90s, seemed to love the show. Pantomime appears to be based on bad puns, good puns, pop culture references and gay innuendo. Why wouldn’t I want to do it again?




Five Years

A tweet from a random stranger a few hours ago reminded me that it is five years to the day since I made my debut on The Chase. Five years since my life changed from being a little recognised but perfectly successful comedian, to suddenly being thrust into the role of smugfaced, shit-suited jelly-necked Granny magnet. I have tasted triumph and disaster and utterly failed to treat those two impostors just the same. I have some pithy observations to share with you.

There is no “best chaser” 

You will all have your favourites and Lord knows, I know you will all have your least favourites. But there really isn’t a best Chaser, we all have our different strengths. Shaun is supreme on sport and history, Anne is remarkable on literature. Jenny is one of the elite entertainment quizzers in the UK, I now know who plays Harry Potter. Mark brings the same ferocity and speed to devouring questions on the Final Chase as he does to finishing off three pork chops.  What an afternoon that was.

We have never thrown questions.

The accusation of throwing questions is utterly bizarre in that the complete opposite is true. Chasers are all narcissistic dullards who want to show off to the world just how much we know. But what about the Celeb Chases? Those shows get us our bigger audience figures, and our need to show off is even greater. But we are human, and we all have our weaknesses. There are hundred and hundreds of very simple questions that I do not know the answer to.

Bradley is remarkable

Before I started the show, I didn’t really know the difference between Shane Ritchie, Brian Conley and Bradley Walsh. That was to my utter shame. Bradley’s natural, effortless bonhomie with every demographic of contestant has seen him rise inexorably up the light entertainment ladder, and deservedly so. In addition, in contrast to the notion that the “mainstream” and “alternative” comedy circuits don’t get on, he has  never been anything less than supportive about my comedy career. I love the man.

I’m a stranger in my own town

Real life is now something of a rollercoaster ride. There are certain towns and cities where I can barely move for selfie requests. But in Crystal Palace where i live, I can wander around for a fortnight without a single human being spotting me. The show is not big in London, as people do not get back home from work in time. Either that or Richard Osman has Crystal Palace trapped in his vice-like grip.

The Lower Offer

The show has changed over the years. The questions are now harder, and fewer teams score 20+. It used to be that good players threw temper tantrums over contestants who take lower offers. Now, they actively encourage it. A good player who takes a higher offer back does not believe that that is the money he/she will be playing for. He/she knows that it is a tactical negotiating starting point. Do you know why the Chasers hate contestants taking the lower offer? Because it maximises the chances of us losing the game. Outside of the hate cauldron of twitter, it is seen as a valid tactic.

I’m a very good quizzer but…….

Kevin and Pat on Eggheads, and a guy called Olav Bjortomt are the three best quizzers in the UK. They have a combination of dedication and memory skills that mere mortals can only dream of. I am one of a number of quizzers who regularly trade blows in a  quest to be amongst the “best of the rest”. I can hold my own in this company, and I was 10th in last years European champs, and 14th in this years world champs. But it pains me to say that sometimes, under pressure, I can be utter dogshit. It doesn’t make me a bad quizzer, and it doesn’t mean it’s a fix. It just means that I am human, have bad days, and should not have challenged The Beast to a pork chop eating contest at lunch.

Fanny Chmelar

The magic of this moment will sadly never be repeated. The reason being that Bradley’s magical corpsing was based on utter shock. Now that the surprise element has been removed, so has the corpsing. Our most joyous moments now come from things contestants say.

“Which Prime Minister had the middle name Hilda?”    “John Prescott”

“What colour was the racehorse Desert Orchid?”              “Green”

And my alltime favourite contestant.


Being a Chaser and being a standup comic does have certain similarities. There is a needy desire to be liked. And there is a tendency to focus on the negatives rather than the positives. I hate losing, and it destroys me when I perform badly. I can display a clumsily short fuse with idiots on social media, when i know perfectly well that the mute button can be my friend. And I should never forget that I am privileged to do a job that I love, and that it isn’t  “proper” work.


It is the final push now. Yesterday a 58 year old showjumper produced a miracle, our hockey team turned over the world’s best team, Lutalo Muhammad suffered a crushing, heartbreaking one second lapse in concentration and our men’s 4 x 400 team were victims of utter imbeciles. There is no sport that cannot be ruined by the sheer dickheadedness of sports administrators. It was a day when disbelief was the overriding emotion, and I fully expect that to continue as this imperfect but fascinating Games reaches its conclusion. So here goes, this is what we have left.

It is Olympic silver medal hero Liam Heath. He goes at 1300 today in the K1 200M sprint, and has a decent shout of becoming 2016’s Ed McKeever.

Bianca Walkden TKD

Yes it’s Bianca Walkden. She is one of a number of contenders in the women’s 67kg+ taekwondo and hopes to replicate Jade Jones. Her first fight is due at 1630.

Though please don’t rule out Mahama Cho in the men’s 80kg + category. He starts as an outsider which may just mean he is going to win.

Nicola Adams was superb in her semi final. She goes for gold at approximately 1800. Go Nicola !

Tom Daley produced his statistically best performance in the 10m platform diving preliminaries yesterday. I hope he hasn’t peaked too soon, because if he replicates it in today’s semi finals and tonight’s final he has a real shout of challenging the two Chinese divers. Diving, as we have seen, can be unpredictable though.

All logic suggests that tonight’s men’s 5000m final will be a much tougher race than we have come to expect. I am keeping everything crossed. Also in the athletics, our women’s 4 x 400 relay team will no doubt be disqualified, Lynsey Sharp has an outside chance of a medal in the women’s 800m, a race in theory dominated by Caster Semenya. Charlie Grice will surely be making up the numbers in the men’s 1500m, as will Morgan Lake in the high jump. The men’s javelin looks like a thriller, with Trinidad’s Keshorn Walcott now favourite after looking great in qualifying.

We have not one but two candidates in the women’s triathlon. World champion Gwen Jorgensen of US will deservedly start hot favourite, but Helen Jenkins and Non Stanford have both won world championship races this year and as such cannot be ruled out of medal contention.

We also have Charley Hull in the golf, and Joseph Choong and Jamie Cooke in the modern pentathlon. Then tomorrow night, at approximately 1915 we have a guaranteed medal to finish Team GB ‘s games.

Joe Joyce has been superb so far. The judges however have been erratic bordering on corrupt. So I make no predictions with any confidence. He looked better than Voka in the semi finals, and lets hope it stays that way.

But GB have won 24 gold medals. Even for a relentless cheerleader like me it has been beyond my dreams.  I go into this last weekend, relaxed. Whatever happens now, goals have been surpassed. If a curmudgeon were to take away all our golds in cycling, rowing and equestrianism, we’d still be lying fifth ahead of Russia. It has been emotional. I leave you with a photograph of GB’s new Olympic hero, the fearless, unvanquishable hockey goalkeeper Maddie Hinch. The photo is of history’s greatest Olympian. Meeting Usain Bolt.

Photo published for Rio 2016, meeting Usain Bolt and what I cannot do without - Maddie Hinch column




Day 14 Friday August 19th.

Well wasn’t yesterday splendid. Kudos obviously to the Brownlees and Jade Jones, but the canoeing and badminton medals were also magnificent. In addition, Nicola Adams destroyed her main rival to reach the final. Finishing above China still remains a long shot, but it is not an impossible dream. On this day in 2012 we did not do very well at all. Today we are at least guaranteed a silver because……….

It’s the ladies hockey final.

  Staying up to watch the 1988 men’s final remains one of my cherished 1980s memories. Can we get a repeat at 2100 tonight? They are going to have to play out of their skin against the mighty Dutch, but whatever happens congratulations to a team who have been comfortably GBs best hockey team since 1988.

Also today………….

Liam Heath

One of yesterday’s medal heroes starts his campaign for glory in the mens K1 200m sprint.

Women’s 4 x 100 relay

It is a race where much can go wrong. As such our talented quartet are in the mix for a medal.

Joe Joyce

Our last male boxer standing goes in his semi final some time after 1900 tonight against a tough Kazakhstani. The controversial judges thus far have been very pro Soviet bloc, and although Joyce starts comfortable favourite, my suspicion is that he will have his work cut out.

Takewondo 80kg men.

Intriguingly, 2012 bronze medal Brit Lutalo Mohammed, and lapsed Brit turned Moldovan Aaron Cook both fight for medals today.

Show Jumping 

A question that I have been hearing since the 1980s. Can Nick Skelton do it?

In addition………..

Will Almaz Ayana break another world record in the women’s 5000m?

It’s the men’s basketball semi finals. Spain are the latest to stand in the way of the US

The women’s modern pentathlon concludes today. 2012 silver medallist Samantha Murray already looks out of it.

It is round three of the ladies’ golf. Pleasingly Charley Hull is in the mix. Can she stay there?

Women’s water polo and men’s volleyball semi finals.

Women’s pole vault features Holly Bradshaw, who in theory will struggle to feature.

Tom Daley begins his quest to finish the highest non Chinese diver in the 10m platform.

Then at 0235 is the mens 4 x 100 relay.

Can the great Usain Bolt crown his Olympics career with a ninth gold medal out of nine? Of course he can. But watch out for the Japanese.




Toby Young.

Ugh. Post Brexit, I have been vocal about trying to appreciate alternative points of view, not least because it is quite clear that the British public seems to be significantly more conservative than myself. But there is a breed of preening, narcissistic rightwing columnist that I loathe with a visceral intensity I find difficult to suppress. No point is too cheap to make, no leap of logic too tenuous. As long as the idiotic clickbait article riles Britain’s army of po-faced, feminazi, culturally Marxist, bien pensant libtards, then who needs facts, insight or emotional intelligence?

If James Delingpole is the king, then Toby Young is the clown prince of uber smug fuckwittery. His father coined the term “meritocracy”, and yet he exemplifies the journalist with no discernible talent at anything, who has maintained a career by always having a friend of a friend of a friend who has done coke with someone in the right place.

Young’s latest excretion, in which he claims that GB’s fine performance in Rio is a triumph for Tory values, should, of course, be ignored. He’s trolling. You can tell him that ignominy of Atlanta 96 came after a decade and a half of Tory underinvestment in sport. You can tell him that the reality is nuanced and complicated – after all, the right to host 2012 came under a Labour government and a socialist London mayor, but was negotiated by a Tory, Lord Coe. You can tell him that the party which introduced a massive increase in university tuition fees, is not exactly synonymous with a commitment to upward mobility. You can tell him that it’s a bit rich to embrace “evacuee” Mo Farah in a newspaper which has done so much to obsessively demonise refugees. He doesn’t care. Why should he? He has a job where quality of output is entirely irrelevant to future employment.

But to actually use named Olympic stars in what amounts to a party political broadcast is a c88t’s trick. He is exploiting people who have shown a level of dedication and success that he can only imagine in his most far fetched dreams. Max Whitlock winning two gymnastics golds does not prove any political ideology. It proves that he is a quite exceptional young man. Back off Young, keep your grubby, opportunistic bandwagon-jumping mitts off what you barely understand.

GB sports fans are currently experiencing a ludicrously rich period of success. The reasons for this are multifactorial. Great decisions have been made by people of every political hue. But more than that we should feel gratitude to the talent of the sports stars themselves, in whose efforts we enjoy vicarious thrills. That is all there is to it. By distorting facts to suit his own agenda, yet again Toby Young has exposed himself as a rancid, little bellend.


Day 13 Thursday August 18th

So yesterday, much like the corresponding day in 2012, turned out to be entirely medalless. However we still have that guaranteed gold in the sailing, our athletes performed with great credit, and, best of all, our ladies’ hockey team were magnificent in securing a minimum of silver. Gemili in, Gatlin out. What is not to like?

Today has an intriguing mix of medal hopes.

1347   Men’s Kayak  K2 200m

Spain start favourites, but the British pair are very much in the mix and it could well be an early medal today.

1410 Badminton

We go in the men’s doubles bronze medal play off match. Against the Chinese.

1430 Taekwondo

Jade Jones was one of the great GB gold medals in 2012, emerging from obscurity to claim fondly remembered gold. She is no longer an outsider, she is a seasoned veteran who starts favourite in an event which is notoriously hard to predict. Good luck to her.

1500 Men’s Triathlon

Along with the taekwondo, this race represents Britain;s best chance of gold today. Both Brownlees start along with Spanish rival Mario Mola. Brownlee A starts favourite but this is tough to call.

1520 Women’s 4 x 100 heats

The Jamaicans and US obviously start massive favourites here. But Gb have been very consistent in recent years and will be hoping to get their baton round without alarm.

1730 BMX

Outside bet Liam phillips goes in the quarter finals of the men’s event.

1800 Nicola ADAMS

It’s GB against China again as Adams faces her vanquished 2012 foe Ren Cancan. Adams will have to step up from a slightly rusty quarter final performance.


In an intriguing night’s athletics, Ashton Eaton will expect to be crowned, Eilidh Doyle starts tonights 400m hurdles final as a rank outsider, and certainly expect the Canadian De Grasse to be the only 200m runner anywhere near Bolt tonight. Really hope that Gemili can come close to the British record.