John Oliver lost his shit last night

In the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death, John Oliver discusses the future of the Supreme Court, why the government doesn’t always represent the political leanings of the electorate, and how those issues will impact the next generation of Americans.

Scottish comedy’s plight is no laughing matter

Amid the coronavirus crisis, grassroots comedy in Scotland faces potential ‘extinction’ without a lifeline from the government, writes Brian Ferguson.

Can you remember the first time you saw yourself reflected back from a television screen or at the cinema?

It’s quite vivid in my memory as an awkward, hapless schoolboy, watching Gregory’s Girl at home in the mid-1980s. I was agog at not how achingly funny it was, from almost the first frame to the last, but also how true to life it felt to the harsh realities of teenage years when almost everything feels like a total mystery.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Gregory’s Girl recently, partly because it is 40 years old next year. It is undoubtedly a touchstone for my generation, but is still seen as one of the greatest Scottish films of all-time. Director Bill Forsyth is revered as one of the nation’s leading filmmakers, not just for Gregory’s Girl, which was famously honoured in the opening ceremony for the London Olympics in 2012, but for his two other best-known movies, Local Hero and Comfort and Joy. All three comfortably fit into the category of comedy.

Yet 40 years on, the current crop of Scottish comics have had to go into battle to try to secure official recognition for their art form for the first time and a share of the £107m lifeline funding to secure the future of arts and culture north of the border. I’ve come across some bizarre scenarios, but the sight of Scottish stand-ups pleading for fair treatment from the government of a country of Billy Connolly, Frankie Boyle, Still Game, Chewin’ the Fat, Elaine C Smith and Karen Dunbar is right up there.

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Harry Secombe was favourite of radio millions and had a singing voice that thrilled and captivated the audience

By Barry Band

Harry Secombe got my vote last week to be the representative act of the 1950s at Blackpool’s Palace Theatre.

Harry (1921-2001) fits the bill because his Palace appearances spanned ten years; three visits on variety bills, 1950-52, and a summer season in 1960, a year before the big Promenade venue closed.

For 50 years the Palace brought more stars to Blackpool than any other; eight acts per week, two shows nightly, changing weekly.

As the Fifties dawned a new generation of artists appeared on Palace bills. Several had emerged as entertainers in the armed forces including Max Bygraves, Dick Emery, Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers – and Harry Secombe. Continue reading

Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge To Host Audible Podcast ‘From The Oasthouse’

Steve Coogan’s comic creation Alan Partridge has landed his own Audible podcast, titled From The Oasthouse: The Alan Partridge Podcast.

Steve Coogan’s iconic comic creation Alan Partridge has landed his own Audible podcast, titled From The Oasthouse: The Alan Partridge Podcast.

The 18-part series comes out of Coogan’s Baby Cow Productions and will feature the fictional TV and radio presenter offering “audio vignettes” on his life.

The series will drop on Amazon’s audio app Audible on September 3.

“All national treasures have a podcast. With this series, I want to give my fans an intimate view of who I really am,” Partridge said of his new venture.