The Wrong Show is an independent and alternative comedy night in Leeds. This is our blog. Here you will find comedy reviews, features, and interviews. We were formally known as HOWL. First Wednesday of the Month, The Fenton, Leeds.
HOWL Alternative Comedy Night #9 is fast approaching and we have what might be one of our best line-ups yet, featuring Fern Brady and Michael Sterrett, with fantastic support from Robin Parmiter, and Mike Bentley. Hosted by Simon Finnigan.
Fern Brady - Fern was a So You Think You’re Funny? Finalist in 2011 and recently a finalist in the Harrogate Comedian of the Year 2012 competition.
“Spirited…enjoyably sarcastic” - Chortle
“She has powers. Scary powers. Some say that she has the power to make baby girls grow beards and get astigmatisms in their eyes so they need spectacles.” - A Sideways Look
“An effervescent bundle of raw comedic energy…For a performer still in her early twenties, Brady seems remarkably in control of her stagecraft, and on the strength of this performance, it is surely just a matter of time before mainstream success comes knocking.” - Retford Guardian
“Fern Brady is a genius. I think she’ll become a massive, massive name one day. She’s dry, charismatic, very funny and right.” - Some guy.
Michael Sterrett - Michael is one of the founders of HOWL, but he has also been quickly making a name for himself as a well respected comedian, having been a finalist in the Mr Bens Comedy Club New Act Competition earlier this year, and qualifying (again) for the next.
“On the surface, Michael’s material may seem bleak, harsh and dark, but to use words like that don’t give credit to the vulnerability that Michael portrays on stage. His set had the audience in stitches, but it felt like there was something more to his comedy, and that’s what sets him apart as a class act.” Pigeon Hole Comedy Night.
Robin Parmiter - Yorkshire’s only subscriber to Oprah Magazine.
“Fantastic high-energy set filled with positivity and healing provided a fantastic start to the night” Pigeon Hole Comedy Night
Mike Bentley - Like Michael, Mike will be taking part in the next Mr Bens Comedy Club New Act Competition.
I like nothing more in comedy than honesty, and this is one of the most honest and raw comedy experiences I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. Hilarious and utterly heartfelt. That’s why we booked him.
Thursday 1st November.
1-3 Grand Arcade
By Michael Sterrett
During the Comedians of Comedy Live concert film no less than Patton Oswalt introduces Dana Gould as ‘the man who pretty much invented what we do’. High praise indeed. Gould has been working as a standup since the 1980s when he started performing in the clubs of his native Boston before moving to San Francisco. He is one of those great figures in modern American comedy who is perhaps not a household name, yet commands considerable respect from his peers and fans of the art.
Viewers of Seinfeld will remember him as ‘The Summer George’ and astute comedy nerds might know his work as a writer on The Simpsons. I’m delighted to say that Gould has had somewhat of a stand up renaissance since quitting his Simpsons job, releasing the fantastic Let Me Put My Thoughts In You and appearing on shows like Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel. But perhaps greatest of all was when Gould threw his hat into the pod casting ring this year with The Dana Gould Hour.
You know when you have a friend that is a really good cook and they invite you over for dinner? You just know it’s going to be a slap up feed and you look forward to it all week? That’s how I felt when I heard Dana Gould was starting a podcast and my expectations were exceeded beautifully. The Dana Gould Hour is a gorgeously presented hour long show that includes discussions and anecdotes from Gould himself and a host of brilliant minds like Eddie Pepitone, Jon Ennis and Blaine Capatch. There are also interludes where he explores topics as diverse and fascinating as the Manson murders, Murray Wilson, The Church of Satan, the Kennedy assassination, KISS, and Lon Chaney Junior’s portrayal of The Wolfman. And that’s not to mention his obsession with The Planet of the Apes films (an obsession I share).
What differentiates The Dana Gould Hour from many other podcasts is that it feels like a lot of love has been put into it. The editing is crisp and clear, every episode dealing with a particular theme from ‘the carny’ to conspiracy theories. The fact that Gould has been an industry player in Los Angeles for so long also lends a sense of peeking behind the showbiz curtain for a rubber necking rube like me.
There are many podcasts available to assail your ears with but The Dana Gould Hour is definitely a cut above and a worthy addition to your MP3 player every month.
Check it out the The Dana Gould Hour here.
Last Thursday was HOWL #8 and one of our lovely audience members decided to review the night. Here’s an excerpt:
“The amount of Alternative Comedy in Leeds at the moment in phenomenal. There is a new breed of comedian rising from the area that are paving their own way in the scene…This is without a doubt the strongest line up I’ve seen from this group and they’ve developed and grown so much in the time I’ve been attending their nights. It’s amazing to see members fresh from Edinburgh and winning local and national competitions.”
You can read the rest of the review over at Lewis’ blog, PORTBORN.
By Thom Milson
Tomorrow it will be nine months since the first ever HOWL Alternative Comedy Night. A lot of things have changed in that time, especially the comedy scene in Leeds. When we started HOWL Leeds had two nights*: Comedy Cellar at the Verve, and Mr Bens Comedy Club Gong Show. Now there is HOWL, Pigeon Hole, Comedy Cellar at the Verve, Mr Bens Comedy Club Gong Show, Mr Bens RAW, Generic Comedy Night, Sh!ts and G!ggles, and Latent Mutant Comedy. There will probably be even more by Christmas.
At the moment Leeds is really coming alive. It feels like the beginning of something special (and something new). I was talking to an act I know in Manchester and he mentioned how much the scene seems to be diminishing there. It doesn’t have to be that way if the performers start taking responsibility and putting things on. That’s how it got so good in the first place. That’s what is happening here.
I have to be honest though, it isn’t perfect, but I think that’s refreshing. We live in a world in which people now expect things to be perfect all of the time. I find this boring: nothing is as exciting as something that feels like it’s going to keep getting better and better, and that’s what all this feels like to me.
Tomorrow we’re presenting a great selection of comedians at HOWL #8. We have Michael Sterrett hosting, Myself, Si Finnigan, John Briscoe, Liam Pickford, Jacob Rawcliffe, and Callum Scott all performing in what is going to be a very refreshing night of comedy. I can’t say too much without giving certain things away, but what I can say is that it will be different, and very very funny. It would be a shame to miss it.
*I don’t count nights like House of Fun Comedy, Whatever it is Oceana does, and Highlight.
HOWL Alternative Comedy Night takes place on the first Thursday of each month, upstairs at Santiago Bar in Leeds.
Follow us on Twitter: @howlcomedygroup
By Thom Milson
I just want to preface this with ‘I took this from my blog’. I know you shouldn’t really do that, but I did, okay. Also, if anyone from r/standupshots is reading this, please stick with it to the end. I say some really nice things at the end.
I don’t know how much attention comedy fans pay to Reddit, but they recently started a new sub-reddit (there are no easy ways to explain this if you don’t know Reddit) called r/standupshots. The idea is that a comedian (or fan of comedy) can post one of their favourite jokes typed over a picture of the comic. Pretty much like this:
As we all know, that’s Louis C.K. I’ll say more on this soon.
In priciple, the idea of r/standupshots is a good one: comics of any level can post their jokes and gain exposure (as well as followers on Twitter and all that jazz) and it costs them nothing. All they need is a good joke. In a world where people are shitty and won’t spend 5 minutes watching a video another human being spent months working on (unless it involves broken bones, tits, or cats) an image, that can be taken in in under 30 seconds, seems like it might be the answer. So far it seems to be working.
I do like the approach that it’s taking towards comedy: it’s essentially twitter, but with more pictures (their words not mine) and it’s a lot less of a comedians’ circle jerk than I first anticipated. Reddit is also huge in terms of influence on the internet, and to not use it to actually promote comedy, would be idiotic. Especially since Tumblr - the other site that tells people what to like - is shit for comedy.
This isn’t to say it’s without it’s problems though. There are two that really stand out for me: delivery, and the sound of someone’s voice. I posted that image of Louis C.K for a reason, because if you go back and read it again, you’ll do so in C.K’s voice, with C.K’s cadence. You’ll be reading that bit, in the exact way he performed it in his special. If you write and perform comedy, you’ll know that the way you deliver a joke can really make a difference to the way it’s received. Timing is key, as is the tone of a word, or the stress on certain syllables. A pause of two seconds might see a bit get little giggles, while three seconds might see it kill with big belly-laughs. You don’t get that in the written joke form. In fact, it’s a very different skill set altogether. What I’m trying to say is: if no one knows who you are, and hasn’t heard you perform the joke, it might suffer, or at least not get quite what it deserves, when it’s posted over a picture of your big dumb face.
That doesn’t mean that your joke which got down voted forty-three times, definitely suffered because they didn’t get to hear you do it. If that many people hate your joke, it’s probably because your joke is shit. A funny joke is still funny without the delivery, it just might not seem as funny. What I have found whilst reading some of the jokes on there, is that if I don’t know the comic’s voice, or their style of delivery, I try to work out how they likely deliver it. I can do this because I’ve seen a ton of comics perform, all of whom have varying styles. Obviously, this isn’t something you can say about average “doesn’t do stand-up” Joe.
The easiest way to get around this, is to post jokes that have a minimum reliance on delivery, and stand-up because of the writing. It’s therefore not a medium to be used by everyone.
It’s starting to sound like I don’t like r/standupshots, but that’s definitely not the case: I’m a huge fan of the idea that a comedian doesn’t have to wait to be seen by the right people, and r/standupshots is doing just that. I guess my real problem is actually the fact that people are shitty and don’t watch videos.
Anyway, I have really come around to the idea of r/standupshots, and I really hope it works out (and that one day I see my stupid face as a meme on Tumblr). It’s an invaluable tool for some (especially for one-liner type comics) that will help gauge mass appeal of jokes. I mean, I don’t think it’s for everyone, but at the end of the day it’s up to the comic. If you decide to post something on there I wish you the best of luck. Well done to the guys that thought it up. Stand-up is changing, and I’m not going to fight the wave.
Comedy Blogedy: How long have you been gigging in stand-up?
Michael Sterrett: I’ve been going since October 2011 so I’m fast approaching a year in stand up.
Comedy Blogedy: How would you describe your comedy?
Michael Sterrett: Well, I tend to get tagged with ‘dark’. I was under the misapprehension that everyone had dreadful unhealthy thoughts so dark isn’t really how I would describe myself. I would say what I’m trying to do is raw confessional stand up.
Comedy Blogedy: Which comedians influence your comedy?
Michael Sterrett: I lean towards American comedy, people like Marc Maron and Dave Attell. I’m kind of fascinated by damaged guys who own their own neuroses and anxiety but are still tough and cut through the bullshit. I’d say though that I’m equally influenced by writers like Charles Bukowski and John Fante, I think they were coming from a similar place but just worked in a different medium. And I absolutely love a guy called Tom Scharpling who has a radio programme called The Best Show on WFMU in New Jersey, I think he’s probably the funniest most original voice working in comedy at the moment.
Read the rest of the interview here.