British Comedy @ Miller’s
Live at Miller’s once every month
Stand-up comedy directly from the UK
With live music from the Duo Belvedere from Zurich
Curated by Hanspeter Kuenzler
In collaboration with SwissRe
Peter Flanagan (MC), Heidi Regan and David Morgan
Danny McLoughlin (MC), Stephen Carling, Jonny & the Baptists
Tom Houghton(MC), Ola, Martin Mor
British Comedy @ Miller’s
Good comedy does not just make you laugh. Good comedy takes you on a helter-skelter ride of words and wisdom. It will leave you winded with its unexpected turns, shocked with its daring stunts, and euphoric with the sudden glimpse of an alternative logic in which two plus two, quite rightly, makes five.
British comedy is different from any other kind of comedy. It’s a historical thing. From the 1850s into the early 1960s, the so-called “music halls” were the hub of working class entertainment. Their variety shows offered anything from singing dogs to doggerel singing and ladies who were sawed in half. Political satire was as much part of the show as double entendre, pithy one-liners and brutal put-downs. When the music halls went, many comedians moved to the working men’s social clubs. Their jokes had to hit harder than any banter in the room, or they would die. At the other end of the spectrum were the myriad boarding schools around the country. Teenagers cooped up with too much time on their hands and nothing to do but talk. The back-and-forth of one-liners that didn’t necessarily mean a thing but sounded funny, verbal ping-pong, was the cheapest and most readily available source of entertainment going. Bring the two traditions together and you have the bubbling cauldron of wit that is the contemporary British comedy scene.
Much has changed in the past decades. In the 1980s, television series “The Young Ones” and “The Comic Strip” with Dawn French, Ade Edmundson, Rik Mayall et al brought together Spike Milligan’s and Monty Python’s sense of the absurd with a punky sensibility which eschewed a number of old-style comedy themes, including racist, sexist and mother-in-law-ist jokes. By 1994, the new wave of comedians were filling the Wembley Arena.
Today, British television practically lives off comedy. However, the stage – the small stage! - is still the best way by far to sample the real thing. Comedy, that is, that is born in the moment, breathes in the moment, sometimes even dies in the moment – and continues to shape our perception of life long after the bar keeper has turfed us out and the comedian has returned home to feed the budgies.
British Comedy @ Miller’s is modelled on a typical British comedy club. The only difference is that there’s not going to be an open mike for beginners or a try-out spot for an incognito star. Selected by Hanspeter Kuenzler, each night will feature three fabulous comedians, two before the whisky break and one after. Musical introductions will be provided live by the incomparably groovy Duo Belvedere.
Hanspeter Kuenzler (curator): Born and raised in Zurich, Hanspeter left Switzerland due to irreconcilable musical differences and moved to London. Having failed to establish himself as the Johnny Rotten of the rock accordion, he became a journalist instead. Today he writes about music, football and beards for various publications, including NZZ, Schweizer Musikzeitung and Kultur-Tipp. He regularly presents the music show Sounds! on SRF3. “Black Or White”, his biography of Michael Jackson, was a number 1-bestseller in Switzerland.
Duo Belvedere (musical interludes): In their own minds, much-travelled Mario Marchisella (vocals) and Valentino Marchisella (dodgy keyboards) are the kings of the San Remo song festival, circa 1967. In real life, they sing honey-sweet Italian canzoni in the style of men who take it all with a pinch of salt. Actually, for British Comedy @ Miller’s, Mario and Valentino will leave their comfort zone far behind to enter the dangerous world of James Bond.