Simon Lipson: The comedian proving middle-age can be funny

The 55-year-old launches new stand-up night for 'the been there, done that, got the mortgage' generation

Is there such a thing as middle-aged comedy? Simon Lipson, a 55-year old stand-up and impressionist thinks so. Later this month he launches The Grown Up Comedy Club, a monthly night at the King’s Head in Crouch End, London.

Tagged “Comedy for the been there, done that, got the mortgage generation”, it will feature a bill of stand-ups all aged 40 and over, all stalwarts of the circuit and veterans of life, performing for, hopes Lipson, an equally mature audience.

“Although I’m not prescriptive. There’s no house rule that you have to be over 40 to come in. I’m just saying, here’s a club with mature comedians dealing with topics that are specific to mature audiences.” Think gripes about teenage children and gags about M&S; an antidote to the usual circuit fare of, in Lipson's words, “young comedians in t-shirts and long hair doing material about video games, acne and masturbation.”

Lipson was a latecomer to comedy, a former solicitor who performed his first gig aged 34, coincidentally also at the King’s Head. From there he built a lucrative and successful career on impressions and voiceovers, appearing on three series of Dead Ringers, among other shows. A few years ago, he decided to give up stand-up for good. “I’d be standing in a dressing room with the other comedians and I’d just feel like Dad. If you’ve got a daughter of 20 and you’re standing next to a comedian of 23, it’s a bit uncomfortable,” he says. “And they were doing material I couldn’t relate to. Not to say that they weren’t funny - they were great - but I just felt they weren’t relatable to me anymore. I felt too, among the more mature members of the audience, a sense of, ‘Well, I can see he’s funny but he’s not talking to me.” Similarly when he got on stage and started talking about his daughters, he realised his audience was closer in age to them than to him. “I just sounded like a grumpy, old baffled father with teenage children.”

You might think that funny does not get old, no matter how many wrinkles, divorces and grown-up children a comedian has accumulated. The Pythons (combined age 357) proved that old age is no barrier to humour or ticket sales this summer. Frank Skinner has just embarked on a new tour, aged 57, so too have Alan Davies, 48,  Dawn French, 56,  Lee Evans, 50 and, later this month, Billy Connolly, 71. Buying a ticket for an individual show is a different matter, though. There are few club nights that cater to older audiences, or comedians. Grown Up Comedy is for “people who like going to comedy but don’t really want to be preached to by a young person who is not talking about anything they relate to. People who might otherwise feel they’re too old for a comedy club.”

Each night will have three 40-plus acts, Lipson as MC and an open spot. Among the comedians lined up are Mary Bourke, a 50-year old staunch feminist, Andre Vincent, 50, who jokes about having cancer and Ben Norris, a 40-something father of triplets. The first gig on 16 September will feature JoJo Smith, delivering raunchy, raw material about being a single “53-year old loose cannon”, Bennett Arron and Steve Best.

Now all it needs is an audience. As Ogden Nash put it, “Middle age is when you’re sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn’t for you.” Grown Up Comedy is on a Tuesday night. Lipson laughs. “It starts at 8pm and we won’t go too late. We don’t want people to miss their vital old-age sleep.”

Grown-Up Comedy starts on 16 September, Downstairs at the King’s Head, London N8.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada