Tag Archives: Comedy Store

Musical Fun

Hi there, here we are again then. They do say that as you get older time seems to go quicker. I cannot believe two weeks have gone by already, since we spoke last. I have actually had quite a busy time. Which is exactly how I like things to be. I mean for starters it keeps me away from the news and other serious things happening at the moment. Music and comedy, I think is the way forward.

Neil Quigley

I must admit I have been to Las Vegas and I am certainly not adverse to a bit of gambling. However during my latest trip to a Casino. I did not bet a penny. I was at The Rialto in Leicester Square recently to see my mate Mike Sterling perform in his “Stars Of The West End” show. Alongside Karen Mav and Jenny Fitzpatrick.

Stars Of The West End

It was actually the first time I had been there. It is quite a nice and cool place. Not just for a gamble but also for a drink and a bite to eat. When I arrived they had a brilliant pianist and singer performing in the bar area. I got to meet him later on in the night. He is a top class bloke. He was in the original cast of the musical Rent. He also plays in a few different bands. Just a really nice and talented guy.

Then came the start of the actual show. Mike was on first. He did a selection of songs from various musicals. Including of course from Les Miserables and The Phantom Of The Opera. The two shows in which he has played the lead role in the West End. As ever he was sounding sensational. He does have an exceptional voice. He did about thirty minutes. Then there was another interlude with the pianist Richard doing some more songs.

Mike Sterling

Next up on stage was Karen Mav. She was on the X-factor in 2015 and she played Effie White in Dream Girls in London. She did a few songs from that musical. And a few Whitney Houston numbers. She also has such a great voice. She was fantastic. Mike Sterling also did a duet with her. Then it was back to the hardest working man on the night, Richard. For some more tunes from him and his keyboard.

Karen Mav

Lastly we had the lovely Jenny Fitzpatrick. She has been in The Blues Brothers, Sister Act and Ghost. And most recently she was sharing the lead role as Tina Turner in Tina the Musical. I was lucky enough to see her in it and she was phenomenal. On this particular night she mainly did songs from that latest show. Mike joined her on stage to do “Proud Mary”. She was amazing. Her voice is just so strong and powerful. The evening ended with all three of them doing Queen’s “A Kind Of Magic”

Jenny Fitzpatrick

I managed to have a quick chat with Karen and Jenny after the show. They were both so nice and very friendly. I have always liked being around performers. There is a certain vibe and energy that they give off. Which I really love. They then had to dash off home as they were both working the following morning.

I finished the night having a drink and a chat with Mike and the rest of the crew. It was a wonderfully entertaining evening. With three amazing performers singing in what was a relatively small venue. It always makes me feel proud seeing a mate on stage killing it to. Yet another top night out in the capital.

Stars Of The West End

I have mentioned this place before. The Museum Of Comedy is such an great small venue in the Bloomsbury area of London. It has lots of brilliant comedy memorabilia on show. Also Logan Murray my top comedy teacher runs Stand Up Courses there. And quite a few well known comics use it to do warm up or work in progress gigs. This is the reason why I was there the other week.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

I always like trying to see comedians that I have not seen live before. I am such a huge comedy fan. There are lots of comics that I like. I was therefore pleased to be able to tick Frankie Boyle off that list finally. I have been aware of him since his appearances on Mock The Week. I do appreciate he is not to everybody’s taste. And shall we say some of his jokes can be a bit near the knuckle. But in my eyes if I find something funny, as far as I am concerned it is funny.

The Tommy Cooper Room at the Museum of Comedy holds about eighty. It was absolutely packed awaiting the Scottish comedian’s appearance. He had a support act on first. That was the excellent Tiernan Douieb. He falls in to the category of people I was aware of but had not seen before. I enjoyed his set. He then introduced the man himself Frankie Boyle to the stage. I cannot repeat the words he greeted the audience with. But let us just say those three words set the tone for the night.

Museum of Comedy
Museum of Comedy

I thought he was brilliant. I was laughing a lot. My face was hurting by the end. Yes it is true some of the subjects could be described as sensitive. And as you would expect nothing was off limits. But this was a comedy gig with a comedian known for hard hitting material. I heard nothing that I did not expect to. It was in a room full of people who had chosen to be there. And as with a lot of comedy there was often a social or other point to the joke. Regardless of what it was about.

Believe it or not seeing him on stage during a warm up gig. Where he was chatting between bits and setting things up. And I do not want to spoil any illusions. But he is actually quite a nice and thoughtful man. I am really pleased I saw him.

He was working on new material for both his next big tour and his upcoming television series. And from what I saw both of these things are going to be worth seeing. If you enjoy having a laugh. Hilarious ninety minutes in a delightful venue is how I would sum up this experience.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Totally by chance I ended up going to the Comedy Store in London on International Women’s Day. To mark the occasion they had an all female line up. I had already seen most of these comics live before so I already knew they were good. By the way if you have not been it is your classic London Comedy venue.

Anybody who is anybody from the world of comedy. Will have performed there at some point. The set up and sound system is perfect for comedy. As you would expect. I am not saying a lot of comics are recovering alcoholics. But they do the best selection of soft drinks from any bar I have seen. I enjoyed a pint of Pineapple Juice while I was there.

The compere for the night was the fantastic Laura Lexx. Who I had previously seen doing the warm up for an episode of Upstart Crow. And who I bumped into very briefly at the last Tringe Festival Roving Comedy night. She was great, as always. The first act on was Sarah Keyworth. I had not seen her before. She was hilarious. Really good. Got the crowd on side and some big laughs from the off. I suspect we will be seeing more of her over the next year or so.

Then it was an American comic, who I was not familiar with called Spring Day. She is from New York. After spending sometime living and working in Japan. She has been performing in England for over five years now. She was really good to. A very different style of act from the opener. But with some topical and clever gags.

The final act of the first half was the amazing Kerry Godliman. I had seen her before at a comedy club. We went to on a friend’s Stag Do. You may know her from Ricky Gervias’s Derek or After Life. Or from Bad Move with Jack Dee. She is a powerhouse of a performer. I like her and think she is really funny. Her stuff is so conversational and fast paced. After her set there was of course the obligatory twenty minute interval.

Comedy Store Players
Comedy Store Players

Comedy clubs, football stadiums and theatres are places where you will more than likely have to queue to use the Men’s toilet. We are slowly nudging nearer to equality with women on this one, I feel. In the second half after Laura Lexx had got the audience fired up again.

It was Jen Brister on first. I had seen her before headlining at a sadly short lived comedy night in Aylesbury. Once again this time around. She was fantastic. It is worth seeing her show. Just for the brilliant impression of her mother, if nothing else.

The headline act was a comedian, I really do like. I was lucky enough to see her perform one of her Edinburgh Festival Shows at the BBC Radio Theatre. A couple of years ago. Which was excellent. She is the ace Suzi Ruffell. I think that she is a fantastic performer. You really cannot take your eyes off her. When she is on stage. She has a nice rapport with the audience. And most importantly she is very funny,

It was a perfect fun Friday night. Spent laughing at the Comedy Store. It just happened to be a line up of all women. I think a lot of women are funny. And I think a lot of men are funny. I could not honestly care. Which bathroom you chose to use. If I think you are funny, you are. The only factor I will judge people on is their jokes. As ever a night at a comedy venue. Always makes me want to get back on stage myself.

The Comedy Store

I had a fantastic day out at the Cheltenham Festival last Wednesday. If you are a huge fan of horse racing like I am it is a brilliant spectacle. The course and its settings are amazing. The races are of the highest quality. And the Guinness there is pretty decent to.

I went with a few of my mates. We took the train there. It is a nice journey with lovely scenery to enjoy, While we were queuing for the shuttle bus to the course. I spotted none other than queen of cakes Mary Berry behind me.

Cheltenham Festival

We were in the Club Enclosure. Which gives you a fantastic view of the whole course and is situated right on the finishing line. The races were all close and exciting. There were two stand out performances on the day. Altior in the Champion Chase was astonishing. Not at his best. But such a desire to win and be the first across that line. A truly beautiful horse.

And also Tiger Roll in the Cross Country Chase. We watched that from the middle of the course. He eased to victory in that so easily in the end. Which explains why he is now considered as one of the favourites for this year’s Grand National.

Cheltenham Festival

It was a brilliant day out. The racing was top class. As well as the company. I was the only one of our group not to have a winner. But that did not matter. I thoroughly enjoyed the day still. I am already looking forward to going there next year.

Although Aintree awaits next this year. And that is always good. Special thanks goes to my friends wife. Who picked up four slightly merry gentleman and gave them a lift home from the course.

Alan Partridge is back on our TV screens again fronting a BBC show. After the slight incident on his first first ever series in the ninety’s. When a guest got shot dead in the last episode. I am a fan of Steve Coogan. As someone who works in radio and television myself. I can of course see a bit of Alan in me. Sometimes unintentionally, we have done some of the things that he makes a habit of. On my last holiday I read “his” last book. Which was brilliant.

I am really enjoying the new series. There is nothing missing from it. In fact there is so much going on in every scene. That you need to see it a few times. Or you will miss some of the gags. Especially the visual ones. I am finding bits of it quite odd. As some of it was filmed at Broadcasting House in London.

If you saw the first episode. The lift he was in. Is the one I use every time I am there working. And I have often used the toilets he was loitering outside. Sadly I did not bump in to him at all. When he was filming the show. I am looking forward to watching the rest of series.

BBC
BBC

As ever there is never a dull moment being a Tottenham Hotspur fan. We lost away to Southampton last weekend. Which means we are just about hanging on to third place in the league. We now have a few weeks break to regroup. Thanks to us being out of the FA Cup and the following international break. In that time there should be two test events at the new stadium. Which if they go to plan means that our next Premier League home game will be played there.

Finally it looks like I will actually get the chance to sit in my season ticket seat. When that game is. Depends on some FA cup results that involve other clubs. The next game though, will be away at Anfield against Liverpool. Always a tough place to go. But we do really need a win. I am hoping the rest and a trip for the squad to Barcelona. Can help us finish the season strongly. Come on you Spurs.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Sad news the other week as my local commercial radio station. And the place that I made my professional broadcasting debut Mix 96 has been sold. It had been owned by UKRD.

It is now part of one of the two largest radio groups in the United Kingdom called Bauer. I fear it may mean the end of the Aylesbury station, as we know it. My thoughts and best wishes are with my friends and former colleagues there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day. An occasion I always try to mark in some way. Using my very loose Irish links and my surname to just about justify me having a few pints of Guinness.

I will let you know where and how I celebrated this event. When we talk next.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Sweet Soul Music

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of weeks. Mine have been lots of  fun and very interesting. A couple of Friday nights ago now I went to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Stax Prom. Which was a special performance celebrating the music of the great soul record company of that name. It had so many amazing artists signed to it. It was part of the BBC’s Proms series. So it was also shown live on BBC 4.

It was fronted by Jools Holland along with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. Plus it featured three fantastic British singers. Who are all big fans of the genre. They were James Morrison, Beverley Knight and Sir Tom Jones. But then it got even better than that, as many of the original Stax performers were there to. And if that was not enough joining the band for the whole evening were Steve Cropper (the great guitarist who amongst many other things co wrote “Sitting on the Doc of the Bay” with Otis Redding) and one of the greatest organ players of all time Booker T Jones. The original Stax artists were Sam Moore, William Bell and Eddie Floyd. Who were singing the huge songs that made the record company and them stars. Some of them just on their own and some of them with the sensational British singers I mentioned earlier singing with them .

It was an amazing night. The Royal Albert Hall is such a great venue. I even got caught up in the moment and splendour of the event. So treated myself to a glass of champagne before the show started. From start to finish it was just great song after great song. The musicians and the singers were all fantastic. It is hard to pick my highlights, as the whole thing was so good. But there was something special about Sam Moore doing Soul Man, Eddie Floyd performing Knock on Wood, William Bell and Beverly Knight with Private Number and then Steve Cropper and Tom Jones doing a stripped down version of Sitting On The Doc of the Bay with just the guitar and vocals only.

It really was an exceptional night. I was so glad I was there to witness all those iconic performers in action. My only complaint is that the gig went so quickly. It is still available on the BBC I-player. If you are a fan of great music I would urge you to take a look at it, if you get chance.

Stax Prom Royal Albert Hall
Stax Prom Royal Albert Hall

I ticked off another thing from my massive to do list recently. I was a fan of the Channel 4 show Whose Line Is It Anyway. Which was basically born out of a group of people called the Comedy Store Players. Who are still going strong today and still have some recognisable names on their books. They perform every Sunday and Wednesday at the Comedy Store in London. So a few Sunday’s ago I went there with a mate to have a look. I do love going to the Comedy Store because as a genuine fan of comedy, there is so much history there. The pictures on the wall of the people who have performed at that venue is like a whose who in the world of international comedy.  In case you have not guessed this was an improvisation night. Where the audience shout out suggestions and the cast have to use them to make up sketches and jokes on the spot.

The “players” on the night included Mike McShane, Josie Lawrence and Paul Merton. Who were all regulars on the old television show. Also joining them were long time members Neil Mullakey, Richard Vranch and Lee Simpson. It was an hilarious evening. They are so funny and clever in the way they bring things to life, interact with each other and just keep the whole evening flowing. They all look like they are having a ball to. I bet doing that regularly keeps them on their toes and match fit. Considering it is all totally made up on the spot. There were so many laugh out loud moments.

I am really glad I got to see it. I would happily go along to see them perform again, as it would be a completely new and different show. As it is every night. They were all equally brilliant although Josie Lawrence does really nail those musical numbers. Oh yes there are even improvised comedy songs. Mind you I do always like watching Paul Merton. He is a very talented and funny man.

Comedy Store Players
Comedy Store Players

I went to see the latest version of Annie in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre. The main reason for my trip was to see Miranda Hart play Miss Hannigan. This did not go quite to plan though, as she was sadly ill on the day I went. So Annie Smith was on stage playing the alcoholic Orphanage Manager. Who for the record was fantastic she did a brilliant job. It is such a positive and uplifting story with some great songs and a nice sprinkling of comedy moments.

But every time I have seen this play and this time was no different, despite the whole cast being great the kids and the dog always steel the show. A great production of a classic. And another enjoyable night out at the theatre. Special praise must go to the woman behind the bar who managed to up sell me from a small glass of red wine to a large glass for an extra pound. I wondered if she was trying to get me drunk but then later I saw the drinks menu and realised this was a genuine deal.

Annie
Annie

Last weekend I was back up in Liverpool. That place is almost like a second home to me now. I visit so often. My Granddad grew up there and lived in the City until he was thirty, so I have always felt an infinity with the place. There were two reasons for my visit. To see my mate Jeff Nolan and to see Tottenham Hotspur play Everton. I arrived on the Friday and had a few beers with Jeff in the evening. So we could chat and catch up.

Then Saturday it was game day. I had managed to get a ticket in the Spurs end for the first time. So we met up before the game but then for the match Jeff went to his normal home season ticket seat and headed for the away end. From my point of view it was a brilliant match. As my team pretty much controlled the game. Harry Kane not only got off the mark for the season but got two goals and Christian Eriksen also got one in a three nil win. To be honest it could of and probably should have been more convincing. I personally think Goodison Park is a tough place to go, so I was delighted with the three points and the manner of the victory.

Everton V Spurs
Everton V Spurs

It is fair to say that Jeff was less delighted that he had just seen his team well beaten at home. There was some text banter during the game and we still met up after to head into the City Centre for a few drinks. Well I mean it was Saturday Night. We started off at a pub on Matthew Street, which is the same street that the famous original Cavern Club was in. We then went to the bar above Liverpool’s famous Parr Studios.

Then we popped in to The Jacaranda. Which was the bar in Liverpool where the Beatles played their very first gig. The music is always great in there. They have a jukebox which always has top tunes on it. We then just continued having a good time. Which at one point included having a few shots of Tequila. Which is something I had not done for years. After a few more bars we jumped in a taxi and called it a night. It was another brilliant weekend in a place where I do really enjoy visiting. I am sure it probably will not be too long before I am back there once again.

Liverpool
Liverpool

Now when I was booking the trains for Liverpool. I noticed that by getting them in advance the difference between say a normal and a first class ticket was twelve pounds. I have done a lot of train journeys over the years but I had never tried this option. So I thought it was about time that changed. Therefore I treated myself to see what it was like. And to see if it was worth it for future reference. It was just me travelling. I had asked for a window seat. Which ended up being just one seat all by itself. While still meeting my requirements. I have to confess it did feel kind of good walking into the first class carriage and sitting down in my reserved seat.

There was plenty of leg room and it was a decent comfy seat. There was complimentary water available. Then about twenty minutes in to the journey they offered a free snack pack. Which contained some sandwiches, pretzels, a chocolate cookie and a biscuit. Which as I very much wanted to get my money’s worth. I ate it all. Then about an hour or so in to the trip they came round offering tea or coffee. I enjoyed the experience and thought it was a very civilised way to travel.  I must admit as long as there was a bit of a deal on it. I would happily give first class a go again. But only if my travel time was more than two hours.  Anything less would be pointless, I think. It was a nice little bit of luxury to round off a fun weekend away.

First Class
First Class

The week has been very Tottenham Hotspur heavy as I went to see the Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday. It was a brilliant performance from my team and a very good win against a very skillful and exciting side. It was one all inside the first ten minutes. With the way each team were attacking at that point I feared it might end up eight all. Spurs got on top, the whole team played well and we won three-one. Which is a massive three points to get in such a competitive and tough league. It was a perfect start to the campaign.

Fair play to the Dortmund fans they were excellent and did not stop singing and bouncing through the whole ninety minutes. It was also nice to get a good win at Wembley at last. I am looking forward to going to see them play Swansea this evening. When hopefully we will get that first league win at Wembley out of the way. That would really help get our domestic season properly kick started. Plus build momentum after that great win at Everton. Hopefully I will again prove to be a lucky mascot. As we go for three in a row.

Tottenham V Dortmund
Tottenham V Dortmund

I am still busy working in London for the BBC. The other day I found myself in a lift at Broadcasting House with the former England Cricket Captain Michael Vaughan. And while I was having a bite to eat in the canteen the Brexit Minister David Davis also just happened to walk past me. After he had finished having some Breakfast with Andrew Marr. Plus the other day the Killers were playing live outside the building. Which was pretty cool.

BBC Studio
BBC Studio

Finally just a quick reminder that you can still hear me for one more week on Red Kite Radio this Monday to Thursday 4pm – 7pm and Friday 4pm – 8pm . Listen Here

Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil