Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton / Jan 19
Controversial he may be – Jim Davidson has wound up more people than a trash-talking heavyweight boxer – but there’s no denying his talent.
The people’s favourite and one of Britain’s greatest ever comedians, Jim Davidson has earned an OBE for his endeavours. He’s returning to the Grand to tell it ‘like it is’.
Davidson will be asking his audience whether they are fed up with the PC world we now find ourselves in? And if the answer’s yes, they’re in store for a treat with Davidson’s brand-new and outrageous show. Davidson will be saying: “Enough is enough, It’s time to fight back!”
Davidson enjoyed high profile roles as the host of Big Break and the Generation Game after becoming one of the most popular and successful British comics of the past 40 years. However, his stand-up has frequently courted controversy for his jokes about women, ethnic minorities, gay people and disabled people, although he denies accusations that he is prejudiced against those groups.
Davidson was born in London and drummed in pub bands before breaking into showbusiness. He became a regular on the London comedy circuit before winning the talent show New Faces. Soon after, he appeared on TV sitcoms before hosting Big Break throughout the 1990s and The Generation Game for seven years. He featured on Hell’s Kitchen and went on to win Big Brother. All the while, he has continued to maintain his successful career as a stand-up.
Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury / Jan 22
The Evening Standard has described Jason Manford as being ‘effortlessly entertaining’ while the Daily Telegraph wrote that he was ‘blessed with the sort of laid back charm and sharp turn of phrase you can’t manufacture’. And now Manford is back with a sold out Shrewsbury date on his Muddle Class Tour.
It’s been a busy few years for Jason since his last smash-hit stand up show but fans of his Absolute Radio show will know this nationally-acclaimed comedian hasn’t changed a bit.
Muddle Class features a wealth of new material about Jason growing up ‘working class’ then finding, over the years, that part of him has become ‘middle class’ – causing much confusion!
Delivered with Jason’s amiable charm and captivating wit, it’s a show not to be missed. Manford said the title of the show was inspired by another comedian’s gig. “It came from watching other unnamed comedians chatting about being in the queue at Sports Direct,” he said. “I was saying to myself: ‘You don’t shop at Sports Direct!’ So I started thinking what happens if you have some success as a comedian? Do you have to stop doing stand-up because you are different from other people? Of course you don’t. What doesn’t change is your relationship with your family and friends. There’s still a huge amount of comedy in that.”
The tour has struck a chord with audiences who find they’re also part of the Muddle Class. “A lot of people count themselves as ‘Muddle Class’. They find themselves in a place where they think, ‘I don’t know where I belong anymore’. The show is about being in that sort of social muddle.” Manford has enjoyed successful TV gigs on 8 out of 10 Cats (Channel 4), The Nightly Show (ITV1), Sunday Night at the Palladium (ITV1), Live at the Apollo (BBC One), Have I Got News For You (BBC One), QI (BBC Two) and The Royal Variety Performance (ITV1).
Symphony Hall, Birmingham / Jan 27
Dave Gorman, the man behind Dave TV’s hit show Modern Life Is Goodish, is back on the road with a brand new live show, With Great PowerPoint Comes Great ResponsibilityPoint.
It’s the latest in a string of hit shows for the writer and performer, who created Are You Dave Gorman? and Googlewhack Adventure. As the title of his new show suggests, he’s bringing his laptop and projector screen with him so expect the ‘King of Powerpoint comedy’ (Guardian) to have a more detailed analysis of those parts of life you’ve never stopped to think about before.
Gorman is proud of his body of work and finds it hard to pick out a favourite show. “Tricky. Reasons to be Cheerful is the one I’m proudest of because it was the biggest leap into the unknown,” he said. “Googlewhack wasn’t conceived as a project – the events weren’t undertaken deliberately in order to create a show and weren’t fun to live through – but it was the show I most enjoyed performing. Cycling across Britain was the most fun to do.”
Gorman keeps in touch with his fans on his own website, where he regularly blogs. And he’s been pleased that his present show has earned good reviews from critics, who’ve dubbed it one of his best. However, he’s encouraged people not to read all of the reviews before they go to his show – in case it spoils the enjoyment of them. “If you’re already coming along to the show at some point, then I’d suggest you’re better off not reading any further as (the reviews) contain mild spoilers. But if you’re the sort of person who (quite reasonably) wants someone else to validate their ticket-buying decisions, then hey, this might put the right amount of wind in your sails (and my sales).”
Sutton Coldfield Town Hall / Jan 25
Omid Djalili is one of the most recognisable faces in British stand-up as well as being an actor of some repute, having appeared on the silver screen in the likes of Mamma Mia 2, Sex And The City and Gladiator.
His headline show on January 25 will feature support from two of comedy’s hottest rising talents; Stephen Bailey and Rosie Jones. Both have recently appeared on Comedy Central’s Live At The Comedy Store and they’re tipped for big things.
The show will be hosted by resident MC and former Shropshire Star and Express & Star writer, Dudley’s own Wayne Beese. Djalili has already completed a massive 110-date run of shows on his Schmuck for a Night tour – before booking extras. He said: “It’s a comedy roller-coaster. But you have to be a certain height to take the ride. If you’re shorter than my hips you won’t be let in.”
O2 Birmingham / Jan 26
Scotland’s internationally acclaimed and award-winning comedy star Daniel Sloss is back with his hilarious new show, X. Fast becoming one of the world’s biggest comedy names, with two Netflix specials, multiple television appearances and 11 consecutive sold out Edinburgh Fringe shows to his name, fans should catch him before he moves into arenas.
Sloss is proud of his long-standing commitment to the Edinburgh Festival. “It’s sort of weird to think about. I remember being pretty much forced into my first Fringe show,” he said. “I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t think I had the material. But my agent was just like, ‘nah... you’re doing one!’ Doing the Fringe is such a valuable experience, it’s the equivalent of doing a year or two on the circuit.”