A roundup of the best comedy shows released for your home-viewing pleasure in 2011
A selection of Christmas comedy DVDs
Each year a seemingly infinite amount of live stand-up comedy DVDs are churned out, many to cash in on the Christmas market. At Time Out, we spent hour upon hour sifting through the 2011 releases to find the top ten, which are now available to buy and be treasured for eternity (or at least until DVDs become obsolete).
Irish superstar Dylan Moran has long been a master of wonderful turns of phrase. There are plenty of whimsical metaphors in this superb live show: 'her knees were like porpoises heads' springs to mind. The 'Black Books' star is on sublimely top form here – his finest show in years.
With cracking tales of Greg's schoolfriends and schoolteaching days 'Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog' was one of the most blisteringly funny shows of 2010. The DVD doesn't disappoint, capturing the joyful funnies of the show well. Davies's mix of vulgarity and poetical language will leave you in hysterics.
Watson's playful, slightly shambolic nature is captured faithfully in this, his debut live disc. Filmed in Bristol, this is a homecoming gig for the sharp, understated 'We Need Answers' host and he appears to be enjoying himself immensely as he plays with the crowd and brings back the art of chasing in 80 minutes of wonderfully witty, joyous stand-up. Well worth a look.
Fans of Mr Hunter will no doubt be familiar with a good chunk of the material featured on this DVD, which was filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo and was one of the biggest gigs in the comic's career. But Reg always provides fresh takes on his favourite topics – race, sex and relationships – and his laidback southern drawl is effortlessly charming. He's not called the 'coolest man in comedy' for nothing.
The backdrop of Sarah Millican's first stand-up disc – a selection of cake- and cock-based doodles – sums up her show perfectly: a deliciously dirty mix of sweet and filthy material. 'I'm a lot ruder than I am on the telly' she admits, and she's also at her funniest, with playful, occasionally gross material about men, women and relationships. Her tour sold out so quickly, so those who couldn't get tickets can now experience it in the comfort of their own homes.
Stephen Merchant has been working on this debut live tour for a number of years, creating material by performing short spots at the dingy London clubs. The resulting show is an excellently crafted 80 minutes of top-notch stand-up. 'The Office' co-creator is honest and personal, but keeps things silly, never veering off into 'serious'. The man seems naturally funny.
Tim Minchin and the Heritage Orchestra: Live At The Royal Albert Hall
146 mins, Royal Albert Hall
Minchin's orchestra-accompanied mega-tour was a resounding success. Recorded at the grand Royal Albert Hall, the wild-haired Aussie's more sentimental songs shine with a full orchestral backing. Although Minchin fans will be pleased to hear this is the full show, the whopping 146 minute running time is a little overwhelming.
You know what to expect with Tim Vine: a relentless stream of inventive, occasionally grown-worthy puns. But this show is so wonderfully silly and mischievous that you can't fail to be charmed into hysterics by the punmeister general. This DVD is packed with cheeky, gloriously funny gags interspersed with short, witty songs. All aboard the Jokeamotive!
If there's a more beautiful stand-up DVD out there, we've yet to see it. Directed by Richard Ayoade ('Submarine'), this recording of Tommy Tiernan is exquisitely shot – on film – in a tiny 150-seater venue in Cork. The Irish comedy legend consistently has fresh takes on his trademark topics – sex, religion and family – with punchlines always veering off in unexpected directions. It's also refreshing to see a comic put some love into their live DVD, rather than simply churning out another Christmas cash-in.
This crazed Canadian is on true ridiculous form in his second live DVD, released by independent label Go Faster Stripe. Tony's career is rapidly on the rise following a superb appearance on 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks'. Expect bizarre, surreal tales and Kevlar body-suits in this brilliant yet bonkers show.