Comedy festivals: the comics' choices

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Comedians pick their highlights from the Balham, Ealing and Greenwich Comedy Festivals

With an abundance of comics to choose from at the upcoming Balham, Ealing and Greenwich Comedy Festivals, a pack of jokers tell Ben Williams which ones shouldn’t be missed.

For more information on all of London's comedy festivals, see our guide.

Milton Jones recommends Roger Monkhouse

‘Roger Monkhouse is the first to acknowledge there’s something not quite right about a grinning, middle-aged bald man wearing shorts, but he dispels any unease with eloquence and self-deprecating charm. He does topical and observational humour but with more authority than most because it’s so damn well written. As an MC he is effortless, like a world-weary teacher who has abandoned the syllabus to have a laugh with the class, while retaining the toxic capability of dealing with anyone who steps out of line.’

Roger Monkhouse plays the Ealing Comedy Festival on Sat July 14 and Wed July 18 2012.

Milton Jones plays the Balham Comedy Festival on Sat July 7 2012, Ealing Comedy Festival on Wed July 18 2012 and Greenwich Comedy Festival on Mon July 16 2012.

Craig Campbell recommends Ed Byrne

'I suggest you hustle down to Balham and prop yourself within spitting distance from Monsieur Ed Byrne. He’s on spectacular comedic form, which I can unequivocally confide from gigging with the li’l scamp last winter in Scotland and most recently on a mini-tour of Norway. Both the odd foreign people and I were enraptured by his new tales of home life, love and infuriating pets.’

Ed Byrne plays the Balham Comedy Festival on Sun July 8 2012.

Craig Campbell plays the Greenwich Comedy Festival on Mon July 16 2012.

Stephen K Amos recommends Paul Sinha

‘Former doctor Paul Sinha’s clever mind is a great loss to medicine but a tremendous addition to stand-up. An excellent storyteller with a fearless sense of insight.’

Paul Sinha plays the Ealing Comedy Festival on Fri July 13 2012.

Stephen K Amos plays the Balham Comedy Festival on Sat July 7 2012 and Greenwich Comedy Festival on Fri July 13 2012.

Bob Mills recommends Tony Law

‘Among the more familiar TV “names” at the Greenwich Comedy Festival, make a beeline for Tony Law. Half an hour in the world of Mr Tony will re-establish your faith in the ability of live comedy to soar above the mundane and predictable. Joy without cynicism, comedy without guilt, laughter for laughter’s sake.’

Tony Law plays the Greenwich Comedy Festival on Tue July 17 2012.

Bob Mills plays the Ealing Comedy Festival on Fri July 20 2012.

Tony Law recommends Harry Hill

‘Harry Hill manages to remain truly unique and alternative in an increasingly standardised stand-up world. He’s got funny bones, but you already know that and he won’t need me plugging him. So, also see Tania Edwards, who is both very clever and funny. John Moloney, too. See those three and then everyone else. Then move north of the river.’

Harry Hill plays the Balham Comedy Festival on Thu July 5 2012.

Tony Law plays the Greenwich Comedy Festival on Tue July 17 2012.

Rainer Hersch recommends Arthur Smith

‘Friday the thirteenth: unlucky for some, but not anybody making their way to the opening gig of the Greenwich Comedy Festival, hosted by the self-dubbed “Mayor of Balham”, Arthur Smith. He’s a genuinely witty man and author of such classics as: “Mad as a coot, bald as a coot. Why have coots got such a bad name and how have they have risen to become bankers to the Royal Family?” Better coming from the man himself. Don’t miss.’

Arthur Smith plays the Greenwich Comedy Festival on Fri July 13 2012.

Rainer Hersch plays the Ealing Comedy Festival on Sat July 14 2012.

Henning Wehn recommends Ninia Benjamin

‘There isn’t a single aspect to Ninia Benjamin’s stand-up that I don’t like. Be it her invaluable relationship advice, her tales of what life must be like shopping in Primark, her way of putting hecklers into place or, my favourite, her perfectly embedded political routines. But it’s not only her full-on material but her brilliant performance – half-clown, half-pearly queen – that makes the “Chingford sparra” one of my favourite acts on the comedy circuit. Wunderbar!’

Ninia Benjamin plays the Ealing Comedy Festival on Fri July 20 2012.

Henning Wehn plays the Balham Comedy Festival on Sat July 7 2012.

Ricky Grover recommends Jerry Sadowitz

‘In my opinion you need two magic ingredients to be funny: very low self-esteem and a massive ego. I’ve yet to see Jerry Sadowitz live, but knowing he can be dangerously funny, he’s my wild card. See you there.’

Jerry Sadowitz plays the Greenwich Comedy Festival on Fri July 13 and Sat July 14 2012.

Ricky Grover plays Ealing Comedy Festival on Fri July 13 2012.

Mark Watson recommends Milton Jones

‘One of the oddest, funniest and most courteous comedians around. His deft nonsense, long revered by other comedians, has now gained a nationwide following, making this introduction a bit pointless. All the same, it might be worth pointing out just how high his hair sometimes is. He spikes it up with gel and he really can get some serious elevation. Something to look out for in the rare moments you’re not helpless with laughter.’

Milton Jones plays the Balham Comedy Festival on Sat July 7 2012, Ealing Comedy Festival on Wed July 18 2012 and Greenwich Comedy Festival on Mon July 16 2012.

Mark Watson plays Greenwich Comedy Festival on Sun July 15 2012.


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