Tuesday 23rd October

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Jonathan Pie: Back To The Studio review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer and Reviewer

Tom Walker serves up another superb blend of well-informed political analysis, hard truths, gratuitous swearing and guilty laughs

As revealed here last week, Tom Walker has bigger plans for his comedy creation, Jonathan Pie, than the three-minute clips he gifts to the world each week.  And in his second full-length show, Walker shows that Pie is well and truly cut out for a longer format.

Walker’s first show – Jonathan Pie Live – was a toe in the sitcom water for the Alan Partridge aficionado, showing Pie flailing in light entertainment before gradually unravelling rage at his collapsing marriage and being prevented from saying what he really thinks on TV.  But in Pie’s current incarnation – Back To The Studio – some of that frustration’s alleviated by fronting a ‘dry run’ of his own Political Roadshow, giving him the perfect platform to spout his views on what’s wrong with the world.  All he thinks he need do to impress the onlooking TV execs is flick two fingers up at the political establishment – within reason – and style out the amateurish jingles straight from Mid Morning Matters.

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Category: Comedy
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Tom Walker: “When Pie’s shouting at the Tories, he’s also satirising the Left in the same moment.”

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

By any metric, 2016 was an extraordinary year, not least for Tom Walker whose comic creation, Jonathan Pie, surfed into the satirical landscape on a wave of deceptively insightful diatribes about austerity, Brexit and Trump.  Soon, millions of people awaited the spoof news correspondent’s latest rant-filled take on current events – in short and sharp three-minute instalments – with bated breath.

Seizing the moment, Walker – together with comedian Andrew Doyle – penned a solo show giving greater depth to the Pie character as he struggled to host segments of Children In Need.  The result was a success, receiving a four-star review here and praise for its “ability to spew out persuasive points amongst the bile”.  Tomorrow night, Walker returns to Hammersmith with a second live show, Back To The Studio, addressing the way we consume news and avoiding his main mistake from last time around. 

“That first show was a massive learning curve,” Walker says, “because I’d never done anything like it.  I’m an actor, not a stand-up comedian, so I foolishly made it too contemporary, focusing on austerity and the Tories.  When I wrote it, Brexit was miles off and though Trump had announced his nomination, everyone still thought he was a joke.  So on the morning after the Brexit vote, I had to scrap a third of the script and rewrite it.”

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Category: Comedy

What’s On London Comedy Awards 2017

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Now the New Year bells have finished chiming, it’s time to announce our Comedy Awards for the year just gone and news of where you can catch these fantastic acts in the months ahead.

There’s no shortage of talent around, so whittling down the vast forest of performers to a handful for each category has been tricky and some excellent comics have had to be overlooked.  On the plus side, that competition for bums on seats is driving artists onto new heights, constantly pushing boundaries of subject matter, delivery style and occasionally taste.

This is superb news for Londoners because, despite underlying political and economic uncertainty, its comedy scene is thriving.  While leading lights like Soho Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre and The Comedy Store will always drawn top acts and expectant audiences, it’s been fantastic to see less established venues such as 2Northdown and The Bill Murray host some of the biggest names in comedy this year, while monthly events like Suspiciously Cheap Comedy, Knock2bag and Rye Laughs regularly put on the best mixed bills in the country.

So take our advice and fill your 2018 with grins, chuckles and snorts by heading along to those venues or catching our top picks in stand-up, character, storytelling, musical, sketch and improvised comedy for 2017.

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Category: Comedy
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Jonathan Pie: Live review

Rating:

Tom Walker‘s ranty yet astute live show as comedy creation Jonathan Pie will be available to buy on his website from Monday next week.  Ian Cater attended the recorded performance at The O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 3rd March 2017, and reports below on Walker’s brilliant delivery and ‘rare ability to spew out persuasive points amongst the bile’.

Tom Walker’s weekly videos as alter ego Jonathan Pie are as close as we currently get in this country to The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.  Or perhaps The Late Show with Steven Colbert is a better comparison, given Walker uses his fictional creation – a television news reporter who rants acerbic views at his producer during out-takes – to make important arguments about politics, the media and society in general.

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Category: Comedy
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Tom Walker: “You learn a lot about Jonathan Pie: are you really cross with Theresa May or just pissed off at life?”

Tom Walker brings his excellent comic creation – Jonathan Pie – to the capital next month for a fascinating character piece touching on Brexit, Trump and all that’s wrong with modern society.  Ahead of shows at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and London Palladium, Ian Cater interviewed one of the most provocative and insightful performers of British satire.

This week, The Independent complained that while Trump’s election has provoked a strong reaction from American comedians, their British counterparts have failed to respond to Brexit so robustly.  Joe Sommerlad’s article spoke sense, lambasting networks for denying UK chat shows political agendas, and starving Stewart Lee and Charlie Brooker of greater screen time.

However, it was flawed in one crucial aspect.  The piece omitted a major contributor to recent British satire: Jonathan Pie.  Pie – a fictional news reporter created by actor Tom Walker in 2015 – has become one of the ‘must see’ commentators on post-Brexit current affairs.

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Category: Comedy