I don’t know what it is about this time of year. Perhaps it’s all those Facebook status updates about university starting up again and grads taking on their first teaching jobs. Either way it feels like the death of summer and the start of a new academic year.
Why does this make me feel oddly depressed? I’ve spend 20-odd years hating the grind of school and further education but now that I’ve graduated, I’m feeling the loss of the opportunity to learn in a heavily structured environment. I guess you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Any-who, this back to school spirit floating around does mean that Brum has some great events coinciding with Freshers’ week. Best of all is the Birmingham Comedy Festival. I’ve reported from this event a few times and interviewed some of the comics so I can testify to how much fun everyone has here. Whether you prefer your comedy Shakespearian (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), mainstream (John Bishop) or trendy (The Midnight Beast), there’s enough diversity to accommodate all your subjective tastes.
Checking out this year’s line up, may I politely suggest:
- Dave Presents: Comedy in The Dark. Thursday 11th October, 7.30pm, The Electric Cinema. I have a feeling this is the one to go to. It sold out at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe and looks to do the same in Brum. It basically involves sitting in a pitch black cinema while four comics attempt their stand up routines without the aid of gurning facial expressions. This approach has to be safer than the London restaurant where you eat in the dark. Comedy in the Dark also features up and coming local talent Joe Lycett and the poised to break Josh Widdicombe. There are only 38 tickets left (I just checked) so get in there!
- Abandoman. Sunday 7th October, 7pm, The Glee Club. This act has already won some major awards so there must be something to it. The press blurb from chortle.com says it’s ‘Flight of the Concords meets 8 Mile’ – intriguing… Using audience interaction this guy will come up with off the cuff raps and sketches. In the wrong hands this could be a car-crash but that’s half the fun of stand-up comedy eh?
- Charlie Murphy, Sunday 14th October, 7 pm, New Alexandra Theatre. OMG! I used to love Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories on The Chapelle Show (showing my age here) so this could be good. Or just interesting. If Charlie can emerge from the shadow of his brother Eddie and prove it wasn’t just Dave Chapelle’s comedy genius behind those sketches this could be a highlight of this year’s festival. If he can’t then you’ve just wasted £30. Plus travel expenses. Yeah, you’ve just wasted a lot of money. Only joking Charlie. I’m sorry Charlie Murphy. I was having too much fun. Cocaine is a hell of a drug…
Image Courtesy of Hilton Teper