Mark Olver – dancing about architecture (Comedians talking about Comedy)

By Ron Bingham

This was not your normal chat show. Starting with the news that advertised guest Dan Antopolski had gone missing, it then meandered around how the comedians on the stage; Josh Widdicombe, John Robins and Eric Lampaert, had started their day. John confessed to breaking his egg yolk and throwing a bowl of soup at the wall, then had to spend five minutes explaining how these two facts were not directly related. He did give the tip that to spice up any vegetarian meal, you should just crush up salt & vinegar crisps into it (how about the meaty flavours? there’s no real meat….). At this point three young Chinese people in the audience apologised, haltingly explained they don’t understand English, and left. Mark Olver, the host, criticised his flyer crew, but I think if you can sell a chat show to people who don’t understand the language, you probably deserve a medal.

Mark then steered the conversation deftly towards the comedians on stage and their feelings about the state of their careers. Eric (who the UK viewers will know from the Sky broadband ad, where he is picked on by Bruce Willis) gave a lot of good tips about how to approach casting calls and told a few scary stories about bad gigs. Josh tried to explain that, although he is famous off the telly and stuff now, he is still working on his career and trying not to be confused with Jon Richardson (by name or voice rather than in looks, I’m guessing). John did some excellent impressions of the others on stage and got in some very funny interjections on his fellow comics.

At one point of the show, when Eric started talking about Bruce Willis, the comics and audience were asked who was the most famous person they’d met, and the girl in front of me said Alan Rickman, as she’d been one of the schoolchildren in the Harry Potter films. Doesn’t that make her famous too? I suppose half of Edinburgh featured in the films at some point.

The hour went by very quickly and the intimate show was more inviting to it’s small audience than usual to become involved in what might have been a private conversation about the comedians, than the usual chat show with a given a scripted set of jokes or simply PR about shows to see. If you love comedy and the people who perform it, this is an excellent show to see. Mark is a very relaxed and unobtrusive host, allowing the comedians full rein to explain their views and letting the conversation flow. The guests (who are listed on the flyer) for the next few weeks are quite impressive and if I didn’t have to leave, I would becoming back to see it again.

Dancing About Architecture is on at the Assembly Checkpoint on Mon-Thu ​at 1.45pm

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