Doppel-gaggers: comedians to see at music festivals 2014

Need help choosing who to see in the comedy tent this year? We pick six of the best and identify their musical counterparts

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  • Simon Amstell is… Morrissey

    Since ditching the bitchy world of pop music-based telly shows, Simon Amstell has made a stand-up career out of angst. He’s the epitome of melancholy, delving into his personal pit of poignancy so that we may laugh at his pain. Music’s king of sadness, of course, is Morrissey. But contrary to common misconception, the twangy-voiced Lancastrian is wickedly funny too. Take the lyric ‘Let me get my hands/On your mammary glands,’ for instance. Plus, both Morrissey and Amstell have had hugely successful solo careers… if you consider ‘Popworld’ to be Amstell’s ‘The Queen Is Dead’.

    Catch Simon Amstell at Latitude Festival.

  • Josh Widdicombe: © Andy Hollingworth. Ed Sheeran: © Christie Goodwin

    Josh Widdicombe is… Ed Sheeran

    With their strawberry blonde locks and everyman appeal, Josh Widdicombe and Ed Sheeran could be lookalikes. But the similarities don’t end at appearances. Widdicombe (Adam Hills’s sidekick on ‘The Last Leg’) offers witty metaphors for life’s small annoyances. Sheeran enjoys a smooth metaphor in his soppy lyrics, and he’s no stranger to comedy. The Halifax-born singer asked improvised comedy rap act Abandoman to support him on tour in 2012, and he often collaborates with them. they’re both inoffensive, unlikely heartthrobs. Teenagers and their mums just love them.

    See Josh Widdicombe at the Green Man Festival, Festival No 6, Hop Farm Festival and Latitude Festival.

  • Tim Key: © Rob Greig. Nick Cave: © Cat Stevens

    Tim Key is… Nick Cave

    Yes, Aussie alt-rocker Nick Cave (56) is nearly 20 years Tim Key’s senior (37). But there’s something about the Bad Seeds frontman’s blend of elegance and grittiness that matches the award-winning comedian. Like Cave’s songs, Key’s pithy poems are both intelligent and filthy, and like Cave himself, Key somehow straddles the line between cuddly and ominous. Stand-up is Tim Key’s main focus, but he’s an in-demand actor too, popping up in the Alan Partridge movie among others. Hey, hasn’t Nick Cave tried his hand at acting too? Yep, with roles alongside Brad Pitt in ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’ and ‘Johnny Suede’. Uncanny.

    Tim Key plays Latitude Festival.

  • Katherine Ryan is… Lily Allen

    There’s a breezy sugariness to Lily Allen’s brand of pop. But take a moment to examine the lyrics and you’ll find they’re full of sarcastic zingers. Outside of music, boy oh boy does Allen have a brusque, unapologetic way with words, and she can’t resist a good celebrity insult. Panel show regular Katherine Ryan has the same ‘sweet on the outside, acidic on the inside’ nature, tackling big topics with a savage wit. The Canadian-born comic bitchily targets glossy celebs, too, and doesn’t give two shits about the consequences. Sheezus Christ, indeed.

    Katherine Ryan will be at both Hop Farm Festival and Latitude Festival.

  • Tony Law: © Rob Greig. Paloma Faith: © Antony Crook

    Tony Law is… Paloma Faith

    Loony Canadian comic Tony Law might not have the Hackney sass of Paloma Faith, but he certainly shares her eccentric fashion sense and all-round kookiness. Law’s been top of the bonkers stand-up pile for over a decade. His brain flits between stories of surreal trips into space, hanging out with the Vikings and raising his two ‘trolls’, sorry, children. Faith wears her peculiarity on her sleeve (literally), and is most charmingly bizarre on a panel show. Funnily enough, the pair were teammates on ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ not long ago and have been pals ever since. How sweet.

    Tony Law plays Latitude Festival and Festival No 6.

  • Cardinal Burns: © Antony Crook. Disclosure: © Scott Wishart

    Cardinal Burns are… Disclosure

    Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns – who make up ace sketch duo Cardinal Burns – aren’t related, like sibling duo Disclosure. But they might as well be, having been inseparable since meeting at film school during the mid-2000s. Like the dance-music duo, Cardinal Burns are mega-popular right now. Their self-titled Channel 4 sketch series is skilfully shot and produced (just like a certain duo’s debut album) and, just as Disclosure missed out on a Brit Award, Cardinal Burns lost out to BBC Three’s ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ at the Baftas last year. But, hey, Alan Partridge didn’t win either.

    Cardinal Burns will be at Latitude Festival.

Simon Amstell is… Morrissey

Since ditching the bitchy world of pop music-based telly shows, Simon Amstell has made a stand-up career out of angst. He’s the epitome of melancholy, delving into his personal pit of poignancy so that we may laugh at his pain. Music’s king of sadness, of course, is Morrissey. But contrary to common misconception, the twangy-voiced Lancastrian is wickedly funny too. Take the lyric ‘Let me get my hands/On your mammary glands,’ for instance. Plus, both Morrissey and Amstell have had hugely successful solo careers… if you consider ‘Popworld’ to be Amstell’s ‘The Queen Is Dead’.

Catch Simon Amstell at Latitude Festival.


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