Paul Merton has been a staple of Friday night TV comedy for longer than I can remember, and he’ll be bringing his witty reposts up to Durham this month. Being able to walk onto a stage and be funny, without any preparation, is a frightening thought, but Mr Merton and his comedy chums are doing it night after night on their extensive improvised comedy tour with an unparalleled level of success. Each show is constructed entirely at the behest of the audience, so if you bought tickets to every show you would never see the same thing twice; it’s like jazz-comedy.
Some people are just funny, they can’t open their mouths without something funny dropping out, and Paul and his chums Suki Webster (also his wife), Lee Simpson, Mike McShane and Richard Vranch are all firmly in that category, and they’ve been winning plaudits up and down the country; by the time they hit Durham on Saturday 13th June their wit knives will be sharpened to comedy sushi standards. You can unexpect the expected, except the expectation that you will be exceptionally excited by this bunch of wonderfully gifted comedy chums.