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Latitude Festival 2010: A Review of the Comedy Arena, and more.

There were the big names: Robin Ince, Richard Herring, Deborah Francis White, and the New Acts: Ivo Graham, Eric Lambert and James Acaster. Find out just what you missed in the Comedy Arena this year...

Written by Amelia Gregory

James Acaster by Kathryn Jones
James Acaster by Kathryn Jones.

Over the course of Latitude I saw numerous comedians, some of whom appeared as comperes on other stages when not performing to surely one of their biggest ever audience (of thousands) in the Comedy Arena. The Cabaret Arena was much favoured, as of course was the Literary Arena – hanging out with Robin Ince and his fabled posse.

Kevin Eldon, Phil Jupitas, Josie Long… they all dropped by, frequently.

Latitude 2010-Phil Jupitas by Amelia Gregory
Phil Jupitas. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Robin Ince by Stacie Swift
Robin Ince by Stacie Swift.

My favourite part of the longstanding Book Club was a guide to one of Robin Ince’s favourite bad books: Mens’ Secrets, set to a duelling musical accompaniment.

Latitude 2010 James Acaster by Amelia Gregory
James Acaster.

James Acaster was one such novice who I saw happily entertaining pre-act literary crowds with clever improv. Teenage wonder Ivo Graham kept the Cabaret crowd thoroughly entertained with his impromptu rendition of Blind Date – amusingly he is so young he had to be told of Cilla’s name. Weird to think of Blind Date already consigned to ancient TV history.

Latitude 2010-Ivo Graham Blind Date by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Ivo Graham Blind Date by Amelia Gregory
Ivo Graham improvises a round of Blind Date in the Cabaret Arena.

The main Comedy Arena was my favourite place to hang out in 2007, and it’s popularity continues to grow. Despite additional wing tents on each side of the huge central marquee, the arena remained unable to contain the enthusiastic crowds, who kicked up huge volumes of dust with every new exodus and influx.

Abi Daker - Ivo Graham
Ivo Graham by Abigail Daker.
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One of the biggest draws of Latitude is the chance to discover new talent. Ivo Graham is a mere 19 years old, which made his ability to engage a massive audience all the more impressive. With jokes centred around Facebook, pesky younger brothers and getting in trouble with mum, he still struck a chord with the older folks.

Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins
Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins.

Eric Lambert was winner of the Latitude New Act of the Year 2010, although from what I heard Ivo would have been way more deserving…. or James. Eric’s winning performance centred around an improv routine that wasn’t always quite up to scratch.

Latitude 2010-Eric Lambert by Amelia Gregory
Eric Lambert.

He was cheeky and sexual, no doubt a hit with the ladies. It’s proved nigh on impossible to do any research into Eric since he seems to have zero internet presence… but I would guess from his demeanour that he’s a big fan of Russell Brand.

Doc Brown by Iamanoctopus.

Of the better known comedians I really enjoyed the guide to slang courtesy of Doc Brown, who was formerly a rapper and just happens to be younger brother of Zadie Smith. Sucking snot out of his small child and inappropriate comments on packed buses define his descent towards the normality of family life.

Stephen K. Amos by Suzie Winsor.

Following him on Friday South Londoner Stephen K. Amos was suitably un-PC, berating his previous Yorkshire audience for its lack of diversity, ripping the piss out of posh people, bemoaning his old age (he’s 35. there’s no hope for me) and generally causing loud if somewhat uncomfortable chuckles across the arena.

On Sunday we caught the tail end of Rufus Hound, who was indeed face-painted up like a dog, if somewhat lacking of a tail. He spoke of the trials and tribulations of marriage and babies… which led onto the misogynistic diatribe of Richard Herring, a 43 year old singleton who made jokes about tit wanks and gay sex, accompanied by a signer for those hard of hearing. Or perhaps just to afford the opportunity to make yet more lewd jokes.

Richard Herring by Sine Skau
Richard Herring by Sine Skau.

He also over-milked an incredibly tedious tirade about Mars Bars that met with a fairly frosty reception… that became part of the act… that increased it’s tediousity. I think he was my least favourite comedian at Latitude.

Andrew Lawrence by Faye West.

Next up Andrew Lawrence was really quite sinister but also strangely endearing, geared as his jokes were around his all round lack of appeal. Hey, why the sadness? I’ve always had a soft spot for scrawny gingers! Leaning back at a jaunty angle and grinning demonically he spoke of his semi-autistic relationship with his current (long-suffering) girlfriend. Hey, doesn’t that cover most men?

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory
Deborah Francis White.

Lastly, Deborah Francis White put on her genius show How To Get Almost Anyone To Want To Sleep With You on Sunday in the Cabaret Arena. “Every actor wants to be in a sitcom, every man wants to be in a woman,” she informed us, talking us through a series of pie charts that showed the different state of mind for women. Whilst we’d like practically every man we meet to want to sleep with us (approximately 95% according to Deborah) the reverse is true when it comes to the amount of men we actually want to sleep with.

Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins
Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins.

To a chorus of knowing laughter from women, slightly nervous laughter from the men, she talked us through the best way to pull the opposite sex. “Be a Scorsese movie!” she opined, extolling the virtues of confidence. “You’re probably not going to get a part in me…” But the point is that every man should want to. Even if the reason they’re so fixated on lesbian porn is simply “two tits good, four tits better.”

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory
Women stroking themselves to much amusement.

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory

She persuaded the women in the audience to stroke themselves on the breast to turn the men on, pulled people out of the audience to follow her instructions on how to tell a girl on the tube she’s gorgeous, and finished with a bra wrestling match between two men. Because who wants to sleep with a man who can’t get a bra off with one hand?

The comedy at Latitude Festival is undeniably one of its biggest selling points… now if only they could figure out how to accommodate the heaving numbers of people that yearn to be amused.


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4 Responses to “Latitude Festival 2010: A Review of the Comedy Arena, and more.”

  1. [...] Here is my drawing of Stephen K Amos. Read the review of his show alongside others at Latitude here ▶ No Responses /* 0) { jQuery('#comments').show('', change_location()); [...]

  2. grthink says:

    Great article — especially like Faye Skinner’s illustration of Andrew Lawrence.

  3. [...] would never allow. These illustrations for Amelia’s Magazine accompanied the reviews of the comedy stage and Friday Night’s Music lineup and research involved watching some comedy on Youtube. Always [...]

  4. Maria says:

    Hi, I also loved many of these comedians at latitude and was trying to find Eric Lambert on the internet too, but couldn’t. I’ve just discovered that they got his name wrong it’s actuall Eric Lampaert…this is his website

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