By Graham Chalmers
Along with the big star names such as Marcus Brigstocke, Dave Gorman, Ruby Wax and Chris Ramsey, the second week of this year’s Harrogate Comedy Festival features some cracking acts you may not have heard of - yet.
The accent at Harrogate Theatre is on emerging talent - from French wit Marcel Lucont this Saturday, three-times Fosters Edinburgh Comedy award nominee James Acaster on Tuesday, to the final of the festival’s Comedian of the Year contest next Wednesday, to time-travelling Victorian magicians Morgan and West on Thursday, October 16.
Two of the best rising stars to watch out for are the laddish Tony Jameson and Rose D’Or Award-winning Bridget Christie.
Talking to north-easterner Jameson about his popular show, Football Manager Ruined My Life, which was a sellout at the Edinburgh Fringe when he debuted last year, he admits to being a bit of an obsessive about football.
Described by critics as a “painfully funny show”, it’s amazing what humour he wrings from playing every single instalment of Football Manager since 1992!
Appearing at Harrogate Theatre Studio next Monday night, October 13, I asked Tony whether his career had been a case of slowly made his way up the divisions from the Vauxhall Conference to the Premier League or a sudden leap from nowhere?
“The main story in this show is about me taking a team from the Blue Square North to the European Champions League. It was never my intention to stay with one team, it just sort of happened really.”
Would it be fairer to say supporting Aston Villa ruined your life, rather than playing computer games?
“Aston Villa tend to ruin my Saturdays, definitely. I can never quit being a football fan, but there must surely become a time when I’ll outgrow video games?”
As for the award-winning Bridget Christie, this mum-of-two may enjoy a soupçon of surreal silliness but she also makes sharply intelligent points about modern-day misogyny and hard-hitting topics such as female genital mutilation.
Much to her own surprise, her breakthrough live show, A Bic For Her, not only triumphed in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards but also won a South Bank Sky Arts Award, beating off competition from Alan Partridge.
Appearing at Harrogate Theatre next Thursday, she said: “I think part of the success of A Bic For Her was the timing of it. The media decided, for whatever reason, that 2013 was the year feminism found the Edinburgh Fringe!”
It didn’t harm that her BBC Radio 4 show Bridget Christie Minds the Gap had also been a recent hit, leading to a prestigious Rose d’Or Award.
In a festival of many treats, both Jameson and Christie are simply unmissable.