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Leeds comedy Marches onwards (pardon the pun)

Written by
Marissa Burgess

Why's it still chilly out there? Was that hail? It's meant to be spring isn't it? What? Not until the 21st? Oh well. Here's some comedy to check out in cosy (heated) rooms.

Comedy Cellar, Verve, Tue Mar 3, Free
Leeds' very own weekly comedy kindergarten. Everyone's gotta start somewhere and this is where Leeds' comedic hopefuls get their stage time. It's also a good place for the more established acts to test out new material. So get down there, who knows what you'll see?

Andy Parsons, Leeds Cities Varieties, Wed Mar 4, £15.60 -£37.20
The comedian that, apparently, just about every other comedian can do an impression of, Parsons brings his distinct drawl to Yorkshire. 'Live and Unleashed – But Naturally Cautious' is his fifth solo show; these days he's made plenty of telly appearances to get those bums on seats and quite right too, as anyone who has seen him live will know he's a sharp live stand up.

Count Arthur Strong, Leeds Cities Varieties, Thu 5 & Fri 6 Mar, £18.10
Oh what a wondrous creation Count Arthur is; a stumbling old fella, hunched shoulders, constantly getting his words mixed up, rarely getting to the point. He's been performing for years on stage and radio but thanks to his BBC TV sitcom many others have discovered his sheer brilliance and quite right too.

Comedy Sessions, HiFi Club, Sat Mar 7, £12 non members, £10 members (£11/£9 advance)
The weekly comedy night at HiFi. Quality is always top of the bill when booking this night but tonight is a particularly good one with Tom Wrigglesworth and Keith Carter. Wrigglesworth's writing combines a splendid sense of daft with a strong streak of poignant. Meanwhile Carter is one of the finest character comics around, his 'Nige' is a legend.

Omid Djalili, Leeds Town Hall, Thu Mar 12, £23
Iranian Djalili used to begin his set adopting an accent of vague Middle Eastern origin, then reveal his rather luvey, well-spoken English accent. It was a simple but lovely poke at people's perceptions. Sadly he can't really do that gag anymore, what with his many telly appearances, but judging by the title of his latest tour, 'Iranalamadingdong', his heritage will still be on the set list.

Jongleurs, Maluko, Fri 13 & Sat 14 Mar, from £17
Jongleurs' last weekend at Maluko (see below for where they're off to). So say ta ra to the bar in the company of clever fella Toby Hadoke, mind reader Doug Segal, half Spanish and from Norfolk - Jen Brister and former sports writer Eddy Brimson.

Comedy Kaiju, Wharf Chambers, Wed Mar 18, £3
This month the third and final instalment of the 'Not So Late Show with Ross and Josh.' Joining Ross Brierley (apparently Fred Savage from the Wonder Years) and Joshua Sadler (allegedly Macho Man Randy Savage's illegitimate lovechild) will be acclaimed sketch trio Gein's Family Giftshop. The usual daftness will reign. One Man Breaking Bad, Leeds Cities Varieties, Thu Mar 19, £19.10 Has anyone not seen Breaking Bad yet? (Well, me actually but it's lined up on Netflix). LA actor Miles Allen takes all sixty episodes of his favourite TV series and condenses them into sixty minutes impersonating most of the characters with a few extra impressions thrown in for good measure.

Stewart Lee, Leeds Town Hall, Fri Mar 20, £21
As anyone who has seen Lee, whether live or on the telly will know 'A Room With Stew' is an innovative one with some uncompromising wallpaper. Lee continually plays around with the rules of comedy and expectation, so if you love stand up and haven't seen him yet – you really, really should.

Patrick Monahan, Carriageworks, Sat Mar 21, £13 (£12 conc)
Cuddles and (probably) cake all round! It's gonna get messy. The Irish Iranian Geordie comic is one of the most exuberant acts on the circuit. However you feel when you enter the room by the time Monahan's finished with you, probably making you dance or tickle the person next to you, you'll be as giddy as the proverbial kipper.

Jongleurs, Tiger Tiger, Fri 20 & Sat 21 Mar, from £17
Phew that was quick! All change at Jongleurs as they swiftly move into their new home at Tiger Tiger. Christen the new venue with the delightfully scary Mandy Knight, former pro snooker player Sean Meo, nice boy with a dark side - Stuart Goldsmith and musical comic Christian Reilly.

John Bishop, Leeds Cities Varieties, Wed Mar 25, £26.60
He's massive these days, gone 'Supersonic' you might say. But Bishop was another one of those comedians with a natural talent from day one - already in his 30s when he started stand up and having honed his performance skills on the after dinner circuit. Here's an extra date on his latest successful tour.

Kill for a Seat, Seven Arts, Wed Mar 25, £11 (£9 conc or advance)
Chapel Allerton's resident monthly laugh in. This time around Kill For a Seat to see Jo Jo Smith and Tiernan Douieb. Many comics have impressive CVs from their days before stand up but not many can say they interviewed The Clash or were a bingo caller at Butlins like Smith can. The self proclaimed small and bearded Douieb's other talents include making people laugh (a lot).

Gina Yashere, Leeds Cities Varieties, Thu Mar 26, £15.60
The British Nigerian comedian has plenty of tales to tell. Particularly as she's spent a fair few years living in LA. 'Laugh Riot' regales with tales of experiences ranging from Singapore brothels to being coughed at in China.

House of Fun, The Original Oak, Fri Mar 27, £7 advance, £8 on the door
Headingley's long running comedy club. No line up details were available at the time of going to press but bearing in mind that the likes of John Bishop, Stewart Lee, Jason Manford, Alan Carr, Sarah Millican and Rhod Gilbert have all played the club in the past - you know it's going to be a good one.

Dara O'Briain, Leeds Grand Theatre, Fri 27 – Sun 29 Mar, £24-£28
Before he was on telly as the leader of the Mock the Week gang and liking hard sums and star gazing, O'Briain was entertaining the nation with his fast patter and quick improvisation in theatres up and down the country. No surprise that he's performing no less than three nights at the Grand with A 'Crowd Tickler'.

Manford's Comedy Club, launch Pryzm, Fri 27 & Sat 28 Mar, £15
Jason Manford's mission to bring decent comedy to all corners of the nation continues with this new night in Leeds. Planned as a weekly club the line up is yet to be announced but it's sure to be a winner as all of Manford's clubs have a hand-picked line up of his and his team's favourite comedians.

Comedy Sessions, HiFi Club, Sat Mar 28, £12 non members, £10 members (£11/£9 advance)
Another top quality night from the House of Fun booked weekly comedy night. Roger Monkhouse has the manner of a giddy professor about him, he's quick and clever with the laughs and has been for many years. Joe Lycett's star, meanwhile, rose relatively recently and pretty quickly due to his sharp observations. A perfect combo.

Words: Marissa Burgess

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