Glastonbury festival 2008 live comedy review: Arthur Smith and Friends

Printer-friendly version

Day one of Glastonbury proper, and we’ve been around.

The Cabaret Marquee, where most of the comedy is taking place, is an odd establishment. It’s in earshot of the Jazz World stage, meaning that every comedian (and strange poet or “dance and samba outfit”) is competing to be heard over the strains of Lupe Fiasco or the Fun Lovin’ Criminals. It makes it hard for the acts, who were already struggling to get laughs out of a semi-comatose audience, most of whom presumably came in to get out of the rain or have simply smoked one joint too many and slumped into the nearest tent. Among those battling the conditions were Arthur Smith And Friends. The veteran comic himself is ever reliable, and was kind enough to apologise to any of the more drug-addled members of the audience who had been expecting Aerosmith. Some of his material was very sharp – “I must ask you all to make sure your mobile phones are turned on”, he said, pointing out that actors get a bit up themselves about that sort of thing (“You’re not operating on someone’s brain – you’re Dorissing around in a pair of tights pretending to be Lord Byron”) – and, while it did feel a little cheap when he started telling old jokes, they were at least good ones. The “Friends” were Matt Green, a man who claims to be twenty-nine but looks not a day over fourteen, songstresss-comedienne Izzy Sutty and the ubiquitous Simon Munnery, who in his guise as Alan Parker Urban Warrior had already played the Marquee earlier on. Green wasn’t short of good lines, but his key asset is his air of affable naivety. He’s just so likeable and sweet that you want to take him home. Isy Sutty had one absolutely killer trick – she can do an astonishing impression of Amy Winehouse stuck down a well. Unfortunately the rest of her material was a bit thin. Munnery needs little introduction, but it is nice to see him drop the Alan Parker schtick for a bit, which while excellent is a bit of a one-trick pony. He mentioned going on a pro-war march – “not very well-attended, but we won” – and told about how he has quit smoking and taken up telling people he’s quit smoking. Also worth mentioning were the Ting Tings, whose set at the John Peel stage apparently brought the largest-ever crowd to the arena. Surely Glastonbury 2008’s big winners. Later tonight is the wonderful Jim Jeffries – we’ll have an update on that later on. Posted by Tom Chivers at Glastonbury 2008

Tom Chivers
Arthur Smith
Isy Suttie
Your rating: None