3RD, 4TH, 5TH AUGUST 2014, THE CAMDEN HEAD – 9.30PM
A quick plug for the comedy show I’m doing on the Camden Fringe at the Camden Head, 100 Camden High Street, NW1 0LU on 3rd, 4th, 5th August – starts at 9.30pm.
I’m never that comfortable with self promotion but here you go.
BUY TICKETS HERE:
Londoner PAUL LAIGHT is a semi-pro comedian, film blogger, screenwriter and filmmaker. Paul’s a but miserable but tries so hard to be positive and it’s this dynamic which propels his comedy. He did his first comedy gig in January 2008 and performed at many gigs both as comic and compere. His set is gag-heavy with jokes based on personal experiences including: family, marriage and work. He’s both bitter and sweet as he examines his life. Despite his complaints he prefers to hang onto the positives and see the funny side of life.
ADAM GREENE is an up-and-coming comedian from South London. With a mix of observation and surrealism, Adam has earned plaudits from audiences, critics and fellow comics who describe him as “endearingly funny,” “surprisingly alright,” and “definitely OK”.
As a former frontman in a Punk band in the mid-noughties Adam developed a stage presence and confidence that made the transition into stand up smooth, winning competitions as early as his fourth gig. Preparing to make his Edinburgh debut in 2014 as part of the show Dancing with the Inflatable Colonel there is a bright future ahead for this comic.
“Next big thing – don’t quote me on that!” – Robin Banks, Promoter
Hope you can make it along to THE GREENE & LAIGHT SHOW – be seeing you.
THREE DAYS TO KILL (2014) – FILM REVIEW BY PAUL LAIGHT
**CONTAINS SPOILERS – ALTHOUGH NOT MUCH TO SPOIL AS THE FILMMAKERS HAVE DONE THAT ALREADY**
For me going to the cinema is very much like going to a restaurant: the trailers are the starter; the movie is the main course; the director is the chef and the popcorn and sweets are dessert. To continue the analogy I would describe 3 DAYS TO KILL (2014) as a complete dog’s dinner. Given I have witnessed by chance a dog eat its own vomit and horse excrement – different dog on different occasions – this is probably the nicest thing I can say about the film.
3 DAYS TO KILL is another of those EuropaCorp B-movie action genre thrillers from the Luc Besson stable which have proved very popular to audiences seeking heady thrills, explosions, testosteronic fist-fights, car chases, post-ironic-tight-clothed femme fatales, dastardly bad guys plus the added whiff of xenophobia thrown in. Some of which, such as The Transporter (2002), Taken (2008) and District 13 (2004) are actually very entertaining. Yet, Eurocorp have also produced some excellent genre movies giving inexperienced directors a foot up in the industry e.g. Tell No One (2006). But like many studios for every hit there is big fat turkey.
Talking of turkeys this movie is one severely undercooked bird. The ‘chef’ McG, who killed the Terminator franchise reboot and ruined the well-cast Spy v Spy romantic action thriller This Means War (2013), has to be one of the most consistently poor directors around. Because he takes two very familiar plots —
1) Dying Secret Service Agent/hired killer (Kevin Costner) is given a chance to live longer by super-sexy but plastic Amber Heard if he does one last job in Paris.
2) Dying Secret Service Agent/hired killer (Costner) tries to redeem his past failings as a father by rebuilding his relationship with his ex-wife (Connie Neilsen) and teenage daughter (Hailee Stansfield) who lives – guess where?!?! Paris is where!!
— And fails at every stage to bring them to the boil satisfactorily. The tone of the piece was all over the shop. One minute I think I was meant to be laughing and the next minute I think I was meant to be adrenalized and the next minute I was meant to be sad. But I felt nothing. Added to the plot elements mentioned was a sub-plot involving an African family squatting in Costner’s apartment. But this only slowed down the story even more and was an extraneous redemptive device Costner’s character didn’t need.
Now I love a good spy movie. I also enjoy familial dramas. But it takes a skilled writer and director to make this work together. In fact 3 Days to Kill is one of those films where you genuinely wonder whether the filmmakers knew what they were doing. Frankensteinian in concept with bits and pieces nicked from different genres and films, yet like Frankenstein it’s disfigured, falling apart at the seams and essentially a dead film walking.
There are positives about the film and one of them is that the film ends. Having said that the opening set-piece is pretty good and Costner is dependable in the kind of role Liam Neeson has made his own in recent years. There’s an amusing scene with a stereotypical Italian Accountant in a rare moment when the family and spy plots actually worked well together. Plus there are a couple of well-choreographed car chases too.
However, in between the action we suffer long dull scenes between Costner’s father and his daughter played by Hailee Stansfield. To be honest I doubt a Bergman or Kubrik in their prime could save this rotting fetid stew of a script which the writer’s cooked up in less than the 3 day’s it takes to kill McG’s career. Here’s hoping anyway.
NEVER EVER BLOODY ANYTHING EVER! THE GENIUS OF RIK MAYALL & MR JOLLY
**CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS YOU BASTARDS**
The passing of comedian and actor Rik Mayall was a ruddy shame. Of course I didn’t know the guy but from a cultural point-of-view here was a comedian, actor, raconteur, writer and clown who I grew up watching on the tellybox and escaped into fits of laughter just at his merest look, gesture, rant, pratfall and frying pan in the face. So when I heard of his death I was disappointed because he was dead. And would never be alive to perform again. That always positive energy was gone.
I myself have attempted stand-up on a lower-runged level of the comedy circuit and while you can obtain laughs through trial, error, gigging, experience, writing actual jokes blah, blah, blah etc. but what you can’t be taught is actually being funny. You’ve either got it or you haven’t. And Rik Mayall didn’t just have funny bones; he had funny eyes, ears, hair, nails, feet, hands, heart, spleen, blood etc. You get the picture: HE was fucking funny!
Kevin Turvey, Lord Flashheart, Richard Richard, his many Comic Strip performances, Alan B’stard, Drop Dead Fred, The Dangerous Brothers etc. were some of the many varied comedic performances Rik Mayall delivered. He could do clown, mania, slapstick, psycho, pathetic, sleazy, satirical, violence, arrogance, low status, high status, eloquence, sarcasm, smarm and many more. Like an overgrown demented child he could run amok, shout then whisper, go dark and then lighten up in a moment. And it was just so bloody natural.
Arguably his crowning performance was as Rick in The Young Ones, a surreal, punkish yet somehow still traditional situation comedy centred around four lazy students who essentially fail to get on whatsoever but still form a dysfunctional “family” unit. Rik was the spoilt mummy’s boy with inklings of anarchic desire yet with a penchant for Cliff Richard records. He was a spotty, poetry spouting virgin prone to bouts of rage and snivelling sycophancy and sneakiness with an anger toward authority and revolutionary ideals but neither the backbone, physical power or bottle to actually do anything that may bring a government down. He was basically a cowardly, hysterical child who happened to be hilarious at the same time.
The Young Ones was a defining comedy for me when I was growing up. I’d never seen anything like it. And ever since I have sought out such programmes containing profanity, imagination, stupidity, slapstick, satire, surrealism and above all else human beings trying and failing to get on with each other. I have subsequently found this in shows such as South Park, RedDwarf, Blackadder, The Day Today, Alan Partridge, The Office, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia to name but a few. However, for the remainder of this piece I want to pay tribute to — if you put a gun to my head — my favouritest thing that Rik was in ever! One of the funniest 50 minutes of comedy ever committed. The Comic Strip film: MR JOLLY LIVES NEXT DOOR!
The Comic Strip Presents: erupted from the sordid strip joint stages of Soho or more specifically the original Comedy Store. Alumni included: Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, Alexei Sayle with frequent appearances by Keith Allen, Robbie Coltrane and many more comics who would become household names over the years. Anarchic, punkesque and anti-establishment in approach they were a hurricane of creativity challenging the comedic hegemony and what was considered to be the apolitical, sexist, politically incorrect and old-fashioned performers of the day.
From the stage they marched into our living rooms on the newly founded Channel 4 in 1982 (way back when C4 produced challenging programming) and over the years produced some wonderful and wacky short films, features and shows which satirised everything and anything from: literature, film, television, politics, music, war, fashion, sport, law etc. The Comic Strip Presents: were a staple for alternative souls and any new episodes were greeted with joy in the mind of South London latchkey-TV-addicted kids like myself.
The Comic Strip collective produced too many hilarious shows to mention but my favouritest ever is Mr Jolly Lives Next Door! Written by Mayall and Edmondson they presented two drunken, idiotic morons derived from their Dangerous Brothers’ stage personas. Together they are DREAMYTIME ESCORTS: alcoholic, depraved, sleazy con-artists with little or no redeeming qualities whatsoever; other than arguably perhaps they cause themselves more damage than others. Mr Jolly is a masterclass of violent slapstick, stupidity, sight gags, demented cameos and also some very well written jokes too.
It begins with our unnamed “heroes” helping the police with their enquiries relating to Fatty: a now dead client. Dreamytime Escorts then get confused with their mysterious-assassin-lunatic neighbour Mr Jolly (the hilarious Peter Cook) and somehow are involved in a plot to “take out” Nicholas Parsons; as arranged by demented gangland boss Mr Lovebucket (Peter Richardson). And the whole thing is directed by Stephen Frears – yes THAT Stephen Frears. The same one who directed The Grifters (1990), The Queen (2006) and Dangerous Liaisons (1988) etc.
So with a deranged story — which I think may have influenced another moronic classic Dumb and Dumber (1994) — on the go the audience is driven along on a wave of anarchic fun and alcohol fuelled insanity with Rick and Ade having much fun while they’re at it. The scenes where they torture the Japanese client and get so drunk they end up in the toilet screaming at each other — having “borrowed” Mr Lovebucket’s £3000 to kill Parsons — are a senseless joy. The drunken nonsense is ramped up even more when they take Quiz Show host and TV celebrity Nicholas Parsons to the Dorchester on a night out; Parsons believing they are competition winners when in fact the “Escorts” have accidentally run the real winners off the road and killed them in a fiery blaze.
To a teenager the sheer pace of the lunacy was a thing of beauty and even now when I watch Mr Jolly the chaotic nature of the scenes at the Dorchester at Parson’s house are packed full of physical performances, celebrity in-jokes, stupid sight gags such as the tattoo which Ade thinks has been put on backwards when he looks at it in the mirror. I marvel at the comic timing, sheer energy and controlled mayhem on show. The next day they suffer the grandest of hangovers and when Mr Lovebucket calls in his debt the two drunks must actually kill Parsons. What follows is live action cartoon violence of a side-splitting variety with Rik getting a hammer over his head and Ade holding on while two grenades explode.
Cue a finale which involves a crazy car chase, Rick shitting himself, Dreamytime Escorts van ending up in a skip, Mr Jolly murdering Parsons to the tune of What’s New Pussycat, exploding tonic water and Peter Richardson’s Lovebucket uttering the immortal words: “WHAT IS GOING ON!?” before the whole premises blows up. What you have are Stooges like physical humour combined with Loony Tunes style cartoon violence. There is little satire and no subtlety but it is uproariously funny. We end with Ade and Rick walking down Camden Lock canal before Mayall pushes his partner-in-grime in the water for no reason. And that is what is so great about Mr Jolly: it has no underlying meanings or any depth. It’s stupid and violent and loud and ruddy funny. Rick Mayall was all of these too and much much more and I thank him and Ade for giving us this crazy masterpiece.