Contributed by Jonny Collins.
In these uncertain times we don’t know precisely when Blizzard, or indeed any other events will continue running again. In the meantime, we’d like to endorse a platform which might help fill the gaps between live events: NextUp comedy.
I discovered NextUp back in 2018 and it has grown exponentially since then! With over 200 full shows to enjoy for a monthly subscription of £9.99, with all profits being split with the acts on the platform.
Sure, Netflix has some of the big international superstar shows, but only on NextUp can you see TV level comedians alongside the best of the underground scene – including a few former Blizzard acts!
As with any platform, when there’s so much choice and variety it’s difficult to know where to start, so here’s my personal top 10 list of shows Blizzard Comedy fans should check out on NextUp comedy.
10. James Ross – Leopardoptera
I had the pleasure of seeing this show being recorded, and I’m so happy that it has finally been released on this platform. Besides from sharing all the same values that inspired me to create Blizzard Comedy in the first place, James is a master of his style of performance. Eccentric, friendly, political, surreal, – James pulls them all off in this perfected hour show that is a must see for any Blizzard fan.
9. Gina Yashere – Laughing To America
Gina Yashere is just pure funny, simple as that. If you’ve not seen her before you’re missing out. Nigerian Born, London Raised and American living Gina has such a unique and broad perspective on things that there isn’t a single topic she couldn’t make funny. An incredibly confident performer and an equally technical writer Gina is quite possibly one of the best comedians of her generation.
8. The Alasdair Beckett-King Mysteries.
Alasdair Beckett-King is an incredible presence on the circuit – the first time I’d watched this full show I’d only ever seen him do support slots and didn’t really know what to expect, but by god his debut hour delivers. Beckett-King blends whimsy, solid gag writing and social commentary in a delightfully silly way – from his very introduction treating the audience as his own extended family, to critiquing health and safety posters from communist Romania – there is an absurdity in all of his work, but an absurdity that is delivered with the utmost sincerity resulting an hour of stand-up comedy that rivals even the most seasoned of the big Theatre & Area touring comedians.
7. The Delightful Sausage – Cold Hard Cache
If you haven’t seen the Delightful sausage yet, you are missing out. If you’re not watching them right now, you need to ask what the heck you’re doing with your life. Easily some of the fore runners of the modern alternative comedy scene – every show Chris and Amy put together is perfectly constructed absurdity and delight – and their first show is no different! Unfortunately, the only one on NextUp currently, but it’s iconic. Enjoy as Yorkshire’s finest meat themed comedy duo take you through the secrets of the internet, the risks of online banking and the terrors of the dark web.
6. Mark Steel – Vive La Revolution.
What’s not to like about Mark Steel? If you’re a lefty and a comedy fan, you’ll already know how great he is – and this particular show is as much of a history lecture as it is comedy show about the French revolution from the storming of bastille and the rise of Napoleon. This show is equally hilarious and informative, and in these times of right-wing rule it’s shows like these we need to remind us that revolution is only just around the corner.
5. Michael Legge – The Idiot
Michael actually has 2 shows on next-up, and I really couldn’t choose which one was better, so I went with the Idiot because it is marginally longer and more recent, so more relevant. Michael Legge is quite possibly the funniest cishet white man in the world. “And I’m not just saying that to be controversial!” This angry hour and some tackles the age-old question “Why aren’t I Iggy Pop?” and features a whole host of rage about Edgy comedians punching down, Ukuleles, and the existence of Jacob Rees-Mogg. A superb show that is just what we need in these times of chaos and tory bullshit. His other show “Jerk” is also well worth watching.
4. I’ll be Bec
(C/W: Dystopian Future, Capitalist hellscape)
Bec Hill compered my second ever gig, and I’ve been a fan ever since If you have seen Bec Hill before – you know she is an instantly lovable and silly comic who is a joy to watch and performs accessible and silly content that nobody has an excuse to dislike. She’s a comedian for everyone.
In light of this, you can imagine my shock to discover “I’ll Be Bec” is one of the deepest and existential shows I’ve seen in my entire life. Starting with more or less typical Bec – silly puns, flip chart doodles and light hearted jokes we are quickly transported to a dystopian reality where Bec has to make a tough choice that could change the very nature of the world and her position in it. Without wanting to spoil too much, this show is incredibly profound yet tentatively optimistic and well worth a watch if you can handle such a blunt look at the terrible nature of everything surrounding us currently.
3. Rachel Parris – Best Laid Plans
Rachel Parris slipped under my radar for quite some time, then I was vaguely aware of her work on the mash report, but when I found this show I hadn’t made the connection that it was the same person initially. Rachel on the surface may just seem like just another musical comedian – but this show is surprisingly deep: dealing with themes of depression and childhood hopes and their contrast to the reality of adulthood. Parris’ is a fantastic musician and comedian who keeps you engaged on every word of her silly songs and personal stories – and is my go-to feel-good show when I’m sad. Highly recommend.
2. Ray Bradshaw – Deaf Comedy Fam
Ray Bradshaw, as far as I am aware, is the only Stand-Up to have performed his show in English and BSL simultaneously. I know Adam Hills has had his shows BSL interpreted before, but Bradshaw does all the interpreting himself. He has an incredibly unique background being a hearing child of two deaf parents – which leads to some incredibly funny anecdotes that you might feel awkward laughing about if it wasn’t clear from the presentation and context that it was more than okay to do so. As a hearing person, I don’t know if I can comment on just how revolutionary this show is without it sounding patronizing – but it’s fair to say that Ray Bradshaw was the first fringe comedy show that many deaf people had experienced. And what a show it was!
1. Laura Lexx – Trying
(C/W: Mental health, failed pregnancy)
An incredibly heartfelt performance from Laura here, possibly the most personal show on this list as Laura takes you through her depression and unsuccessful attempts for a baby with a provocative look at the wider world and society whilst still managing to keep us and herself laughing. This show is what fringe awards were made for. A perfect blend of quality stand-up and heartfelt stories all packaged together in this perfect hour.
It’s not yet available to watch, but you can find out about Laura’s new show Knee Jerk by reading the interview about it she did for our blog here.
If these shows haven’t convinced you to sign up already, there is over 150 shows to enjoy for less than a tenner a month – AND you’ll be supporting the comedy circuit during this time of uncertainty and lack of work. What are you waiting for?
Stay safe, stay vigilant, and look after one another.