Tony Allen is a brilliant stand-up...
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Tony Allen is a brilliant stand-up comedian and seminal figure in British comedy. This is what he calls 'the fruit of 25 years' work, play and mischief'. Founder of Alternative Cabaret, he massively extended the possibilities of the stand-up format by challenging the cheap bigotry of the comedy scene, making it wild, confrontational and absurd.
Wanna Make Something of It?
The Secret of Stand-up Comedy
Advocate Heckler, Anarchist Parasite and Mixed-Ability Shaman, Tony Allen has written the first volume of what he calls 'the fruits of at least 25 years full-time work, play and mischief'. An exploration of comic attitude in the art of stand-up comedy...
"...I was watching Tony Blair recently on the telly addressing a conference. He walked on beaming and waving and then, while the crowd were still applauding, he 'apparently' recognised someone in the audience, pointed at them and made like he knew them, and clearly hadn't seen them for some time. I first saw Clinton do it. I've got my own version of the same thing. It's a ploy.
"What comes across is 'Hey! Good to see you. Glad you could make it. How's the family? Nice one. Catch up with you later.' What is really going on is the performer is demolishing the fourth wall and bonding with the room - 'I don't know you, I've never met you before and let's keep it that way. But hey, I'm an opportunist and you are my way of establishing a connection with this audience'.
"Politicians are learning the skills of the live performer. No big surprise there, until I saw news footage from Serbia and Vuk Drascovic was using the same technique. What next? The Indonesian Generals? 'Hey! Good to see you. How's the family? Do you want to see them again?'"
"...I was out of control and raving at them. Then I started mixing apologies with the abuse. The sporadic nervous giggling stopped; they didn't even talk to each other. There was just this big silent room full of unexpressed mixed emotions - disappointment, sympathy, embarrassment, fear, edgy excitement and awkward expectation - an unearthed wave of it, experienced as a deep communal sigh."
"...In a liberal society to suggest there are still taboos is almost a taboo."
Aimed primarily at performers, tutors and interested parties, and the next new wave of live solo artistes - stand-up comedians, performance poets, spoken word exponents, lyrical street traders, celebrity politicians, ambitious demagogues and wannabe messiahs, Attitude - wanna make something of it? is essential reading for those determined to stand up and express themselves in front of a live audience.
ONE THE SECRET OF STAND-UP COMEDY
The Performance Imperative
Working the Carriage
Attitude: starting out
Structure - giving it form
The Storyteller, the Fool and the Shaman
The first joke • The Danga to Archy
Robert Armin - a speculation
Fools in High Places
Joseph Grimaldi and English Pantomime
A Brief History of Burnt-Cork Minstrelsy
Jim Crow • The Musicians • The Format Centenary
Victorian Music Hall
Sing-a-long • The influence of Panto • Gus Elen • Dan Leno, Harry Champion, and Patter • Variety
Max Miller - comic attitude and beyond
Who Killed Variety?
Why are Eric and Ernie so lovable?
THREE THE ROOTS OF ALTERNATIVE COMEDY
Oval House • Folk Clubs • Fringe Theatre • Comrade Thesp • Rough Theatre • The Benefit Circuit • Roadshow • Hippie Circus • Busking and Covent Garden • Speakers' Corner • Crutch Guitar Style • Traditional stand-up • Bernard Manning and racist comedy • Post-Oval • Born Again Christians • Catharsis • Psychologically stripping • Audience terror • Here and Now • Oxford Poets • The Torness Occupation • Working Class Hero? • The Nose • The Walcot Beano Club • Comedy Store Audition • The Buskers' Concert • Attitude Elusive • Rock against Sexism • Midnight at the Comedy Store • St Hilda's Club • Comedy Store Again
The Early Days of the Comedy Store
Alexei Sayle • Old Material • Hecklers • Inappropriate Material • Uppity Hillmans • The Liggers • The Management • Jim Barclay and Andy De Ia Tour • Wines and Spirits • Andrew Bailey • Bob Flag • Peter Wear • Clive Anderson • Lee Cornes • Arnold Brown • Waiting in the Wings: Keith Allen
Comedy Store Part Two - Anger Management
Alternative Cabaret - Shouting, Swearing and Politics
The Elgin • The clientele • Acts • My Subject Matter • Sexist shit • Swearing • Pauline Melville • Alexei Sayle • The last night • Wrongly attributed • Beyond the Rule of Three • Origins of Alternative? • Other venues • Telly • Sharon Landau • Edinburgh Festival • Provocateur and Raconteur • Brown rice and bright lights • Hindsight • Alternative ethos • Provocative comedy • Anarcho-punk
Comedians by Trevor Griffiths
Mr Social Control
Bespoken Word at the Manor
What Comes Next?
FOUR THE EDGE OF STAND-UP COMEDY
Discovering my Clown - Tofu the Zany
Rough edges • Daniel Rovai • Stripey Richard • Roadshow • Offal and Tofu • Portobello Precinct • Police and Thieves • Costume and make-up
Glastonbury Notes 1998 - Ian Cognito
Tony Green as Sir Gideon Vein
Glastonbury Notes 1998 - Rory Motion
Golden Rules of Stand-up Comedy - Never do a gig on CS Gas
The Summer of '93 - Benefit for Hackney Homeless
The Ultimate Knob Joke at Forest Fayre - The Great Geek and Stompy 1993
Glastonbury Notes - 1993: The Contemporary Fool
The Cutting Edge at the Comedy Store
The Open Heart Cabaret
Poetry Reading 1997
Ken Dodd died. Did he? No Doddy
Obituary: David Sutch
Lenny Bruce live at Basin Street West
FIVE POST-ALTERNATIVE COMEDY
The Grim Reapo Man is at the Door - Transcript
|Click to read a sample chapter
Stone Fires, Liquid Clouds
The Secret Face of Nature
Complete book list