COMEDY: GIG OF THE WEEK: Boothby Graffoe Tue

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The Independent Culture
Any comedian who names himself after a village in Lincolnshire is bound to be a little bit different, and Boothby Graffoe certainly is. At six foot four and with a magnetic stage presence, Graffoe simply demands attention. With his booming voice, he wins people over through sheer force of personality. "I only have a good rapport with the audience because I haven't got any friends," he says. Don't ask him to sum up his stand- up style, though. "I dunno," he reflects. "Maybe I should stick to `abstract surrealism with a streak of japery', as one critic put it." He is hosting a strong Comedy Network bill which features the mesmerising nonsense of Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt in The Mighty Boosh, and the double-bass tomfoolery of Jim Tavare, alongside mysterious "special guests".

The Talk of London, New London Theatre, London WC2 (0171-771 2000) Tue



The Year of the Clown continues with the appearance of Derevo at the Hackney Empire, a venue with a long history in the field, having played host in the past to Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields and Laurel and Hardy. This cultish troupe of clowns, who have performed to acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival and the London International Mime Festival, return with their precisely choreographed show, Once.

Hackney Empire, London E8 (0181-985 2424) Tue to 9 May

Nestor and Gee

Eddie Nestor and Robbie Gee have appeared in things as varied as Dempsey and Makepeace and Desmond's. These two strong performers were also prime movers behind BBC2's black sketch show, The Real McCoy, and Airport on Radio 4. They now join forces to introduce a bill featuring the winner of the 1998 Comedy Store National Hooch Award, Jocelyn Jee, Toju and Maria Wolf.

The Tabernacle, London W11 (0171-565 7800) Fri