Time to stand up and be counted

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The Independent Culture
Stand-up comedy on television rarely works because, invariably, the comedian is given a mere soundbite's worth of airtime to show off his wares. Well that's never stopped the likes of Frank Carson, but there are so many comics about today whose acts are more complexly structured than wham-bam one-liners that they tend to be squeezed out of the equation when it comes to television. Eddie Izzard was irreversibly deterred from TV by his experiences on the BBC's comedy show Paramount City where he found the producers more or less enforcing gag rewrites on the spot.

So, on the face of it, The Stand Up Show (11.45pm BBC1), a half-hour slot guaranteeing the comics 10 minutes each, has to be good news. More than any other comedy show to date, it recreates the format of a live club with a compere (uncle Barry Cryer) introducing three stand-ups who are, for once, given the opportunity to get into their stride. The six- part series will introduce some new faces selected by the programme's researchers who have been out trawling the club circuit rather than picking up the phone and dialling big-shot comedy promoters. Two names to catch are sweaty Essex beer boy and West Ham fan, Phil Jupitus and, in tonight's first outing, Phil Kay, a deranged Scot given to assailing the audience - watch from the safety of your living-room.

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