The Week in Comedy: The 12 gigs of Christmas

 

What does Miley Cyrus have at Christmas? Twerky. This, according to a poll by the comedy channel Gold, is the nation's favourite new festive joke and as such will feature in a specially commissioned box of comedy crackers this Christmas. I think I preferred the runner-up - Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars? Because their days are numbered - but they're neither of them close to the all-time classic: How do snowmen get around? They ride an icicle. You can have that one.

We all like a laugh at Christmas. Thankfully stand-ups do not down tools when the rest of the nation does and there is a feast of live comedy to be enjoyed between now and Christmas Eve. Here's a guide to the 12 gigs of Christmas not to miss. There really is no excuse for watching that Vicar of Dibley repeat on the sofa for a fourth time.

Christmas mixed bills are always good fun, allowing acts to trot out their finest seasonal gags and see what their sketches look like dressed in tinsel. London has two of the best in the next few days. Tonight, sketch trio Sheeps host their annual Festive Bash at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill with last night's British Comedy Award winner Tom Basden, Tim Key, Jamie Demetriou and The Pin. On Monday, The Boy with Tape on His Face hosts Cornucopia, a dazzlingly large bill at The Palace Theatre featuring Jarred Christmas, Stuart Goldsmith, Paul Daniels and many, many more.

Elsewhere, comedy's hardest working atheist Robin Ince has an event for almost every night on the advent calendar (if he owned one). On Saturday, he and Brian Cox co-host a Compendium of Reason at the Hammersmith Apollo. Next week, he begins a run of his perennially popular Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, with guests including Josie Long, Alexei Sayle, Bridget Christie and John Lloyd, at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London.

With DVDs to sell and stockings to fill, many stand-ups are touring up to turkey time this month. Sarah Millican is tackling domestic bliss in Nottingham all weekend with her Home Bird show. On Monday, Ricky Gervais will don David Brent's baggy Levis for another gig with his rock band Foregone Conclusion at Colston Hall, Bristol. The South African comedian Trevor Noah is all over the place between now and 22 December with his thought-provoking show The Racist. And Ken Dodd is touring all month, with a special Christmas show and guests on Sunday in Wolverhampton. In London, the Scrooge-like Jerry Sadowitz takes up residence at Leicester Square Theatre from 18 December for a month of magic and misanthropy. And Tim Key is reprising his show Father Slutmas, an evening of festive poems and Brussels sprouts, at The Invisible Dot next week.

If stand-up brings out your inner Scrooge, there are plenty of festive variations on the format. Popcorn Comedy has a fizzing line-up on 20 December when James Acaster, Liam Williams and Mae Martin will relive the weirdest moments of 2013 and show their favourite online comedy clips at Hackney Picturehouse. The Weirdos Comedy Club are staging a new play, The Colonel, roughly based on the life of the founder of KFC and starring arch experimentalists Ben Target, Pat Cahill and Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer, John Kearns. (Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, 16-18, 20 December). Finally, if it is panto with real punchlines that you're after, try The Santa Claus Science Experiment, an anti-panto for all ages at Bloomsbury Theatre, London on 22 December, starring Twenty Twelve's Sara Pascoe among others.

The British Comedy Awards

If there is one thing everyone can agree on, it is that awards ceremonies tend to go on a bit. The British Comedy Awards usually have enough raucousness to help the time fly but they pushed it this year with not one, but three special awards tagged on to the usual run of Best Males and Females. That is not to say that Will Ferrell, Steve Coogan and Paul Whitehouse did not deserve their International Achievement, Outstanding Achievement and Writer's Guild awards, respectively. They absolutely did and their presence lent glitz and history to the occasion but what do they mean? Last year, perhaps thanks to a dearth of Hollywood film premieres in town, there wasn't an International Award at the British Comedy Awards at all. The year before that there were awards for Special Contribution to Comedy, Outstanding Achievement and Lifetime Achievement. It must be a little annoying for those honoured to have to share their big night with other high-achievers.

What I Watched…

Anchorman 2

A preview at Vue West End. Reviews are under wraps until next week but suffice to say, it's funny, ridiculous and there is a news team battle featuring jaw-dropping cameo after jaw-dropping cameo.

The Duck House

At the Vaudeville Theatre, London. The new expenses scandal farce from Dan Paterson and Colin Swash, the men behind Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, features a brilliant comic turn from Ben Miller and piles of political gags. My favourite: "When in Rome… get a receipt for your cappuccino."

Key and Peele

The American sketch duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are a joy. Their Liam Neeson fanatics and ludicrously named college footballers (Tyroil Smoochie-Wallace, Leoz Maxwell Jilliumz, D'Squarius Green, Jr etc.) are a fine introduction to their daft art

www.twitter.com/alicevjones

Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears