BBC Radio 4 regular Susan Calman joins Big Comedy Gala celebrity line-up!

Susan Calman joins the Big C

Susan Calman, the star of Rab C Nesbitt, BBC Three’s Dead Boss, Have I Got News For You, and Channel 4’s Ugly Kid, as well as being a regular on Radio 4 (The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth, Vote Now) and Radio Scotland (Funny Friends), today announces she’s joining the all-star line-up at the 2012 Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

From Glasgow, Calman gave up a lucrative career in corporate law to become a comedian and has proved herself one of the fastest rising stars in comedy. She reached the semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Awards and So You Think You’re Funny in 2005, she was also a finalist in Funny Women in 2006.

The feisty Glaswegian went on to become resident compere at Glasgow’s famous comedy club, The Stand, and has been awarded Best New Comedian at the Scottish Variety Awards as well as a Scottish BAFTA.

Calman will join a star-studded line-up at the Macmillan fundraiser, including: Roy Walker (host), George Wendt, Nick Helm, Nina Conti, Tom Stade, Fascinating Aida, Joe Lycett, Dan Nightingale, Steve Shanyaski and The Boy with Tape on his Face.

For more information, interview requests or images, please contact Miriam Attwood on 07825 642225 or email press@bigcomedygala.com.

You can also find the Big C on Twitter (@bigcomedygala), and Facebook (facebook.com/bigcomedygala or search for big comedy gala).

The Big Comedy Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012, at 21:30 (2hrs). Box Office: 0844 847 1639 or 0131 226 0000. Buy online: www.venue150.com or www.edfringe.com / www.bigcomedygala.com. Tickets: £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support is in its second year. The sell-out 2011 event raised £18,433.08 for Macmillan Cancer Support and featured Ed Byrne, Rich Fulcher, Fred MacAulay, Sarah Millican, Danny Bhoy, Frisky & Mannish and Roy Walker.

A chat with… Barry Church-Woods

Laugh out loud funny – Barry (centre) looking uncharacteristically smart. Image courtesy of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society / James Glossop

Full name: Barry Church-Woods

Age: 36

Occupation: Festival and Events Manager

We’ve kind of already covered this, but tell us in your own words; what is your involvement in The Big C?

I set up the Big C with Mhari Hetherington after my big sister Julie died from cancer. I’m mainly responsible for begging the acts to perform on the show, though to be honest, there’s never that much begging involved. We have about a 95% success rate with acts we want if they are in town as it’s such a universal cause. On the rare occasion we’re turned down, it’s because they already have commitments. I’m also the voice behind most of the rude social media out-with August.

Who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?

I have a million.

I’m really attracted to gobby women. Comedy fag hags like Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho and Chelsea Handler make me laugh out loud on a daily basis. I also think Megan Mullally as Karen Walker is one of the best sitcom characters ever written.

 

I’ve always been a fan of sitcoms. I remember sitting in my bedroom as a 14-year-old watching Cheers on an old black and white TV, with a dial to tune the stations. I’m pretty sure I’m going to make a tit out of myself when I meet George Wendt, as Norm was always one of my favourite characters.

Favourite comedy moment (your own or someone else’s)?

I love gallows humour. When things are so bad that the only thing left to do is laugh. That’s kind of where the Big C was borne from. Mhari and I used to sit around drinking whisky and crying about our dead relatives until we had to take a step back and take the piss out of each other.

There’s something really powerful about making people laugh in times of sadness. I’ll never forget the first episode of Saturday Night Live after the twin towers fell. Reese Witherspoon was presenting and instead of the “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” introduction there was a cold opening with Reese and the cast, firefighters, the police and Rudy Giuliani who was mayor at the time. It was a really beautiful image and it made me tear up a little (because I’m not dead inside). Giuliani then said that despite the terrorist attacks, the show would go on as normal to which Lorne Michaels asked “Can we be funny?” and the mayor responded “Why start now?”

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?

I married the funniest man I’ve ever met. Every day I giggle like a teenage girl because of something he says or does. Corny I know but it’s the truth.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

Jesus. And Wendy Liebman.

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Cancer affects all of us.

Let’s get Frisky…and Mannish

If you were smart enough to join us at last year’s Big Comedy Gala, you will have witnessed firsthand the comedy-musical genius that is one of our favourite Fringe acts of recent years – the very funny and talented Frisky and Mannish!

Their unique take on pop may not amount to straightforward stand up, but their comic timing, musical skills and vocal prowess packs a powerful punch if you like your laughs with a side of live music.

Of course, these days – with three massively successful Fringe shows under their sequined belts – they are rather well known, appearing regularly on TV, radio and the Heat Magazine website…yes, they do get around!

But if you’ve not had the good fortune of seeing them live yet, we suggest you seek them out at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – check their website for gig dates.

In the meantime, here’s a video clip of them, appearing live on Scott Mills’ show on Radio One, performing a couple of our favourite Frisky and Mannish numbers…their nursery rhyme take on Girls Aloud hit Sound of the Underground, as well as a saucy, slow dance version of Whigfield’s Saturday Night. Awesomeness!

 

The Big Comedy Gala is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It takes place on Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs), and tickets are £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buying online at venue150.com.

Opinions are like nipples…

This week on the Big C blog, we’re revisiting an old favourite. We love author David Thorne’s 27b/6 website – if you’ve not checked it out already, set some time aside for it pronto! We’ll be very surprised if you don’t leave the site wanting more.

To illustrate his comic genius, here is an excerpt from one of his articles, based on an email exchange between David and a disgruntled cat lady…this had us crying with laughter – literally:

Opinions are like nipples…

“Dear Ella,

Your efforts to protect both cats and customers should not go unacknowledged. If you have access to a printer and scissors, you could make yourself a little badge.

Anyone can form an opinion but it takes a certain type of person to carry that opinion through to consumer censorship. In a million years, if mankind dies out and cats inherit the earth, they will probably build a statue of you featuring a cat nestled in one arm, a can of petrol in the other, and a pile of my books at your feet. Or one of you cleaning your bum with your tongue.”

Read the full article here.

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs), £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buying online at venue150.com.

The Big C proudly (and giddily) presents…

GEORGE WENDT
NICK HELM
NINA CONTI
TOM STADE
FASCINATING AIDA
JOE LYCETT
THE BOY WITH TAPE ON HIS FACE

We are delighted to announce that George Wendt, star of Cheers, will be appearing at the Big Comedy Gala 2012. Wendt – Norm from Cheers and also known for appearances in The Simpsons and Family Guy – is in Edinburgh for Re-Animator The Musical at Assembly George Square this August.


Roy Walker and George Wendt kick off an all star line-up, including 2011 Fosters’ Comedy Award Nominee Nick Helm, ventriloquist Nina Conti, Tom Stade, Cheap Flight’s youtube sensation Fascinating Aida, Fringe favourite The Boy With Tape On His Face and comedy newcomer Joe Lycett at Venue150@EICC on Monday 13 August.

Those of you who joined us last August at Venue150@EICC will be pleased to hear that we raised £18,433, all of which went directly to Macmillan Cancer Support.  This year our goal is to raise £20,000.

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buying online at venue150.com.

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs), £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

Introducing this year’s special guest…hot damn, we’re excited!


You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buy online at: www.edfringe.com

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs): £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage)

Introducing Mhari – a brief chat with our producer

If you subscribe to the Big C blog or read it regularly, you will probably be aware that we like to interview people who are involved in the Big Comedy Gala in some way, or who we think are relevant in general.

This week, the turn has come to someone who did her best to escape attention last year, but who as a co-founder of the Gala is both crucial and central to its existence. She’s also very clever and funny, with hair that just won’t quit.

If you haven’t guessed by now, you probably don’t know her – give it up for Big C producer and arts aficionado, Mhari Hetheringtion!

Mhari Hetherington

The one and only Mhari Hetherington

Full name: Mhari Hetherington

Age: 33

Occupation: Arts Administrator

We’ve kind of already covered this, but tell us in your own words; what is your involvement in The Big C?

Barry and I are the producers. It was all Barry’s idea, but I’m very proud to be a part of it and help raise cash for cancer support charities like Macmillan.

Who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?

Joanna Lumley for Patsy, Stephen Fry for pith, Nicholas Parsons for the lifetime achievement award, Mark Thomas for inspirational polemic, and Buster Keaton for fall about physicality and romance.

Favourite comedy moment (your own or someone else’s)?

At the first Big Comedy Gala [in 2011], there was a moment when one of the comics forgot to announce the next act, and Roy Walker slowly walked on to stage. My favourite moment was listening to the crowd audibly start to roar as they recognised  him. It was a nice wee happy accident. He was brilliant and had everyone giggling at his dark, dead pan gags.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?

People falling down.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret.

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Be part of something great.

Well said, couldn’t agree more!

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buy online at: www.edfringe.com

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs): £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage)

Meet our Big C ticket give-away winner!

We recently ran a competition on Facebook, giving one lucky comedy fan the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Big Comedy Gala.

Imagine that…the world’s most awesome stand up gala event ever (we’re almost certain) at no cost! I guess we have to concede that the best things in life are free after all, despite what we wrote on here last week.

Well, on the 1st of May, our dashing volunteer Kevin pulled the name of Julia Morrison, 28, from Edinburgh, out of an envelope full of hopefuls, making her our winner and the envy of this season’s Fringe enthusiasts.

We took the opportunity to ask Julia a few questions to find out a bit more about her and rub the whole free tickets thing in everyone else’s face some more.

So, Julia, congratulations on your big win! Now tell us a bit about yourself…like what you do for a living and some weird quirk you have.

I think I have a super life. I’ve got a bunch of great friends and very few responsibilities. Long may it continue!

I work for a charity looking after their digital comms – websites, ebulletins and social media. My proudest achievement at work is becoming the keeper of the biscuits. This makes me the most popular member of the team.

Having consulted with my sister, apparently I have no quirks. I’m completely bland.

Ouch! Well, you’re quite hot at least – are you funny?

Why, thank you. You are pretty handsome yourself. I’m fairly clumsy so maybe that makes me slapstick? Is slapstick funny?

Erm…let’s answer your question with another question: Is it more important to be hot or funny?

I surround myself with people who are sexy and amusing in equal measure. One without the other is a sad state of affairs.

Do you think our volunteer Kevin is hot or funny or both?

In the 22 second video of Kevin he doesn’t display any comic genius – I will form an opinion on that once presented with more evidence.

However, Kevin is clearly hot and talented. Only a man of genius could pull MY name out of an envelope.

Tough – he’s gay and married so hands off! Who’s the funniest person in your life?

It is hard to choose just one. But I suppose, if pushed, it would have to be my friend Charlotte. She is quick, imaginative and dexterous with words. A mini Oscar Wilde.

When you’re not hanging out with Charlotte what do you like to do?

Being Scottish, I seem to find myself in the pub a lot. But that is OK, I like it there. I can frequently be found having “just one more”.

I am also lucky in that I’m dating my own personal chef so we like to cook a lot. I say “we”, I peel the garlic and he does anything that involves culinary talent.

What did you think and / or shout when you found out you had won the Big C tickets?

I was alone in a changing cubicle at the swimming pool when I found out so I had a quiet smile to myself. I did not want to arouse any undue suspicion.

But I was super chuffed as I’ve never won any game of chance – not even the Christmas raffle. I hope this bodes well for my lottery ticket…

Yes, we’ll be expecting a hefty donation if you win! Who will you be taking with you to The Big C?

My boyfriend Paul will be getting the other freebie ticket – he deserves it! But since it is my birthday on 13 August I’ll be bringing an entourage of family and friends.

That’s what we like to hear! What makes The Big C an amazing event to you?

First off, it is a great opportunity to raise a lot of money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support. They do absolutely fantastic work!

I’m always really impressed to see how many comedians give their time freely to support the show. They can’t all be the sociopaths we imagine them to be.

And finally, cancer is an awful disease that touches so many lives. Comedy is a great way to celebrate the life we have. There is nothing better in life than having a good laugh with friends.

If you could choose one comedian or act that you would like to see in the Big Comedy Gala, who would you pick?

Last year I was fortunate enough to stumble across Marcel Lucont’s show at the Festival. He is my new comedy crush. He is suave, sexy, superior and doesn’t wear any shoes.

Well, thank you for your time Julia…we hope you and Paul enjoy the Big Comedy Gala 2012 – we’ll see you there!

Until then; keep laughing!

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Julia Morrison, Big C fan and our ticket give-away winner.

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buy online at: www.edfringe.com

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs): £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage)

Comedy gold Gloria nuggets – get yours now!

One of our absolute favourite shows of recent times here at The Big C HQ is Modern Family – every episode is like a comedy gold nugget shower and the acting is phenomenal.

Among the funnier characters in the show without a doubt, is Gloria – played with perfect comic timing by Sofia Vergaras. Admittedly, we were marginally less impressed when we realised she actually talks like that for real, but even so she’s pretty amazeballs.

If you’re not already a Modern Family junky, we recommend you check it out immediately – but brace yourself for intense addiction!

In the meanwhile, here are a few Gloria nuggets for you to feast your eyes and ears on. Enjoy!


The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs): £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage). You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buy online at: www.edfringe.com