Category Archives: Comedy




Well, this is exciting : for one night only Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf and My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver will be in a double bill at the famous Garrick Theatre in London’s West End. It’s a 900 seater. My Mum’s coming, so now we only need another 800 of you to keep her company.

We’re gonna need a bigger audience…

There promises to be a bit of an An Audience With kinda vibe, with a number of Doctor Who luminaries on the invite list. It’ll be an ideal warm- up for the 50th Anniversary as the show will be taking place just under a week before that giddy time. So put 17th November in your diary (7pm), and maybe get a ticket for that friend of yours who needs a special present to celebrate this amazing milestone for both Doctor Who and  – thanks to this performance produced by James Seabright and Lee Martin of Gag Reflex – this humble fan.

When tickets went live most of the seats in the front 10 rows were snapped up immediately, and punters from Russia and the USA booked themselves in, so you know, if you think the trip for, say, Kent, is an arduous one, you really have no excuse not to see the show which has won acclaim from press and comics (including Sarah Millican) alike. All the nice things that have been said about it are here.

Tickets are available here.

New Edinburgh Show and Gig List June-October 2012

Well, I’ve bowed to the pressure and am currently working on a sequel to Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf which I have entitled My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver. It will be the story of my life and Doctor Who since the  end of the last show, covering personal triumphs and disasters whilst mentioning Meglos and fuming about The Only Way Is Essex. Like Moths… it will be suitable for a non-Who crowd and its vocabulary and subject matter will be suitable for children (though it is not aimed specifically at them). It’ll get its own page on the website soon, and will be previewing throughout July. In the meantime, tickets and details for the Edinburgh run are here.

I have been ill so sadly took most of May off work, but will be back on my feet by mid June, and so my current gig list has been updated : this includes details of My Stepson… and its preview dates. The gig list is here.


I’ve been added as a last minute replacement (I know my place) to compere a great bill at a charity gig for London Pathway. I am MC for a bill that includes Josh Widdicombe, Hal Cruttenden, Mitch Benn, Scott Cappurro, Adam Bloom and Tom Allen. Excellent stuff.

For more info, go here (see where it says Paul Tonkinson’s name? That’s where mine will be):

I have also updated my Gig List.

In light of the death of Philip Madoc recently, I would like to point you in the direction of an article I did about him a while ago:

I Know The Face But … #1 Philip Madoc

I had the pleasure of working with Philip only in December, and he will be sorely missed. Thankfully, much of his work will be around forever for us, and those lucky blighters in the future, to enjoy.

Me, sound legend Brian Hodgson, and Philip Madoc


XS Malarkey goes from strength to strength and has enjoyed its new heaters as well as some fantastic bills (comedy line-ups, not heating bills : though they’ve been quite big).

I have written two new jokes for my forthcoming Edinburgh show. I have a title, I think, but for now let’s just say that it will be a direct follow on from Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf.

And I’m back on The 7th Dimension on March 17th ; there’s some good stuff there to stimulate your brain nodes.


Basic for now, links etc to follow:


6th-7th Jan
Frog And Bucket, Preston, MC

8th Jan
New Stuff, Comedy Store, MC.

10th Jan
XS Malarkey, MC (Dave Longley headlining)

11th Jan
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

13-14th Jan
Baby Blue, Albert Dock, Liverpool, MC

17th Jan
XS Malarkey, MC (Seymour Mace headlining)

18th Jan
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

20th Jan
Leeds, MC

21st Jan
Halifax, MC

24th Jan
XS Malarkey, MC (Mundo Jazz Headlining)

25th Jan
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

27th Jan
Corporate Booking

29th Jan
New Stuff, Comedy Store, Manchester, MC

31st Jan
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC (Mickey D headlining)


1st Feb
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

4th & 5th Feb
Recording and Broadcast of topical Radio 4 play in the “From Fact To Fiction” strand.

7th Feb
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC (Daliso Chaponda headlining)

8th Feb
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

10th – 11th Feb
Highlight, Camden, MC

11th Feb (daytime)
Big Finish Day

12th Feb
New Stuff, Comedy Store, Manchester

14th Feb
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC (Gary Delaney headlining)

15th Feb
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

21st Feb
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC (Dave Williams headlining)

22nd Feb
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

26th Feb
New Stuff, The Comedy Store, Manchester, MC

28th Feb
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC (Jo Enright headlining)

29th Feb
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC


2nd March
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

6th March
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC

7th March
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

9th-10th march
Highlight, Camden, MC

11th March
New Stuff, Comedy Store, Manchester, MC

13th March
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC

14th March
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

16th March
Hereford, Headline set

17th March
Highlight, Watford, MC

20th March
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC

21st March
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

23rd – 25th March
University Challenge TV Warm-Up

25th March
New Stuff, Comedy Store, Manchester, MC

27th March
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC

28th March
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

30th March
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, Neston Civic Hall

31st March
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, Bradwell Village Hall


3rd April
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC

4th April
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

5th-7th April
Frog And Bucket, Manchester, MC

10th April
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC

11th April
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

13th – 14th April
Highlight, Camden, MC

15th April
New Stuff, Comedy Store, Manchester, MC

17th April
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC

18th April
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

20th-22nd April
University Challenge TV Warm-Up

24th April
XS Malarkey, Manchester, MC

25th April
99 Club, Leicester Square, MC

27th – 28th April
Laugh Inn, Chester, MC

29th April
New Stuff, Comedy Store, Manchester, MC


Next week, it’s the anniversary of when I began a comedy night that I hoped would give me regular employment for the next two and a half months. On October 4th, XS Malarkey reopens to celebrate its fourteenth birthday.

We’d shut down for the first time over the summer as our venue, The Queen Of Hearts, was being refurbished, and this gave us plenty of time to consider the club’s future. I’d not been especially happy at the Queen as the venue never really seemed to have its (ahem) heart in the club and with a new brewery taking over I decided to reclaim Malarkey’s independent status. We’ve always worked best when not answerable to an area manager who knows nothing about comedy, hence our happiest times being at Remedy (a fantastic freehold venue closed by a short-sighted council).

It'll be a bit tidier than this when we open.

After some soul searching and a fabulous meeting of minds, we have opted to relocate to Platt Chapel, an ethical venue with a real desire to create something of an artistic hub in South Manchester in these financially trying times. They’re very much into audience interaction. You want real ale behind the bar? Great – let’s organise a tasting and you can vote on your favourite. Obviously, some of these things will take time to sort out, but there’s a real opportunity for you – as well as us – to create the environment here.

I’ll carry on booking the very best comedians. You just need to keep coming. We have always run on a not-for-profit basis, and we continue to do so. We have no budget, we are entirely dependent on ticket sales, which is why we rely on you to spread the word. In the current cash-strapped climate our prices of £3 (members) and £5 (non-members) for the level of comics we get is unparalleled. We’ve got an illustrious bevy of acts for our birthday, and in the next 6 weeks I can promise at least two high profile TV names. I can’t say when and who, because they’re playing the gig precisely so they can work in front of the XS crowd, and not some interlopers who’ve been lured by a famous person. One act we can announce is Stewart Francis, a Malarkey veteran (he played during that initial two-and-a-half month run that helped put us on the map) also seen on Mock The Week, who’ll be popping in at the end of November. We have a deliberate policy of promoting new talent alongside established acts, and don’t need to play it as safe as some clubs are obliged to at big weekend gigs. That means you never quite know what’s going to happen at Malarkey, except that it’ll be funny and cheap. And that I’ll probably be annoyed about something (just because I generally am).

Stewart Francis - A Malarkey Advocate

So please spread the word and get it out there that Malarkey is here to stay, and that there’s not a better value, high quality comedy night anywhere else in the country.

More pictures and infor on Facebook. Be sure and “Like” us: it’s terribly good for our self esteem.


For the sake of plurality, this blog will occasionally be given over to Jan Jones, The Daily Mail’s expert on cultural, social and media affairs, from her unique perspective of being fiscally comfortable mother of two with a second home in Provence and a stunning recipe for fruit cake. And you don’t achieve those dizzy heights without knowing a thing or two …

First up, Jan on Toby’s comedy club in Manchester, the current cricket test, and the state of our nation’s libraries.



To ensure some balance was restored to our suffering nation, a Daily Mail columnist ventured bravely to the frontline, at one of the country’s most critically acclaimed “alternative” comedy nights. To her lack of surprise, if you were black or gay or militant, you were welcome. But an ordinary working taxpayer … ?

Words by Jan Jones

Well that takes the biscuit (can you call them biscuits anymore? Probably not). I have been asked to write my thoughts on XS Malarkey comedy club, compered by this website’s host, the “comedian” Toby Hadoke. Do you see what I did there? I used inverted commas to say that he isn’t really one because I don’t find him funny. It’s brilliant – you can do it to anything you don’t like but don’t have the vocabulary to deconstruct. I bet they haven’t thought of that at the “Guardian”.

I have to say, I was frankly appalled by this “comedy” (see, it’s easy this humour thing) club. First off, the price. It was only £3 for members. £3 – why should an award winning comedy club be so cheap? I asked the woman at the “door” if this was the case but she, shockingly, insisted upon dealing with everyone who was in front of me in the queue. Wasn’t it enough that they were going to get in before me by sheer chronological advantageousness, but now this “woman” wasn’t even going to speak to me despite the fact that if she ever gets ill, it’ll be the tax I’ve paid that is used to cure her? When I finally did get to the front of the “queue”, I spat at the woman and attacked her with pliers and she had the affront to take offence. I was paying, surely I’m entitled to behave in any way I see fit? The customer is always right. Apparently not at XS so-called Malarkey, where they don’t allow stag dos or hen dos or office parties. Hmm, I wonder what their policy is on Muslim discos or gay backpackers? They probably let them in by the lorry load.

I could investigate this by going undercover, but frankly, I’m a journalist! Why should I be trying to find stuff out that people could just tell me. Well, not at XS Malarkey – apparently this girl couldn’t spare me the time because she had “a comedy night I need to get started”.

He'd have probably been allowed to stay

I looked around me: there were all sorts there. Students, couples, young professionals, people from the North. But what struck me was how much fun they were having. A typical example of today’s society: enjoying themselves, blissfully unaware that the spectre of  inheritance tax and compulsory recycling bins would very soon gobble them up and leave them as empty husks of pain. There were some comedians on, but they swore and joked about the Queen. Well, I assume they did, it was very difficult to hear because I was trying to talk to my 24 hour dry cleaners but what chance does a humble mother of two stand against a left winger with a microphone? They even had the audacity to ask me to be quiet. I didn’t ask them to be quiet, what right have they to deny me access round-the-clock skirt pleating and chemical stain removal? Really, this country.

It got me thinking though, this laughter business. I bet that tragic murder victim from Christmas would have liked to have enjoyed an evening of comedy, but she never will again. And yet none of these people saw fit to stop and ponder that for a moment. A shocking indictment of our selfish society.  And if she hadn’t been cruelly snatched from us, I doubt she’d be laughing at jokes about the government. She’d just be happy to be alive. She wouldn’t be demanding to wear a burkha or medicine for “depression” or joining a union. She’d just be grateful she got to eat her pizza.

My thoughts (and phone call to my friend Lynn) were rudely interrupted when I was asked to leave the premises. “We don’t tolerate people talking through the acts,” I was told. “Well, if you tolerate this then your children will be next,” I said, quoting that pop star. They had no words, and so I turned on my heel and was escorted from the premises.

I left, the “laughter” ringing in my ears. These people probably think they are happy, but they wait until their maid turns up late for work, or until the olive oil delivery becomes 50p more expensive because of fuel charges. Then they’ll be laughing on the other side of their faces (some of which were pierced).

A homeless man asked me for money as I made my way to my Land Rover. “I’m homeless,” he said. “Lucky you, you don’t have to pay council tax or contents insurance” I said, wisely. He had no answer to that.

And nor does so called “comedy”.


Champagne : Illegal in India no doubt

Apparently the BBC give away something called a Champagne Moment during the cricket. Glad the BBC has plenty of champagne: something that I’ve singlehandedly paid for through my licence fee. However, this particular one was won by the Indian captain. Well, being Indian, it’s likely he’s a Muslim or Hindu or one of those other ones that aren’t quite as bad, and they don’t drink. I bet you no-one expected him to drink the champagne out of respect for our way of doing things. How different to if we’d been over there and won their equivalent, (the IBC’s Ramadan Moment or some such, no doubt). I bet you our poor, apologetic team of Westerners would have downed that Ramadan out of sheer politeness.

Think on.


I rang my local library the other day and asked if they had  an organic chicken they could provide me with as I forgot to get one from my local butcher, who was now closed. They said they didn’t and when I told them that my job was terribly important and that I couldn’t do it without having a nice supper, they curtly told me that they only dealt in books, music and a small selection of educational DVDs.

Is it too much to ask people to think out of the box, provide genuine customer service, and stop being jobsworths?

Apparently not in today’s Britain.



This article originally appeared at the XS MALARKEY website. The club reopens in September after refurbishment.

For more Daily Mail wisdom, try this expose of the NHS.