comedy

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The Independent Culture
There are few comedians capable of putting on vastly differing shows from one gig to the next. Most have to make Herculean efforts to avoid getting stuck on the gag groove as they churn out the same weary old lines night after night. There are the odd towering beacons of salavation, however. Eddie Izzard's ad-lib intros can, for example, take in an extended homily to the layout of a theatre. But only the Australian comedian/actor/TV presenter, Mark Little (below, aka Neighbours' Joe Mangel), would notice mid-show that too many people are going to the toilet, declare an impromptu 10-minute interval, and then hang about on stage rapping with the audience... and still make it funny. With Little what you get is a genuine, if unpredictable, anti-performance.

Sometimes, as with his one-man eco-show, Conquistador of the Useless, the laughs may get lost along the Nouveau Dada Deconstructionist way. But his humour's usually more penetrable, if delightfully cracked, than that. December's show at the London Comedy Festival saw him exhorting his audience to march on Parliament in Blobby suits, playing his Christmas single (a satanic version of Abba's "Money, Money, Money" slowed down to 33rpm, in the spirit of all great Neighbours popsters), and rounding things off with a 10-minute non-impression of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Tomorrow night you can catch him at Malcolm Hardee's Neasden club (free disco after the show) for more of what he calls his "virtual comedy" - "you'll be sitting there pissing yourself... and you won't know why".

Comedy Empire, Church Rd, NW10 (081-853 1918/081-459 2917), 9pm Sat £8/£5 concs

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