Anna Isaac

ANNA ISAAC on the unrestrained joys of laughter. She has incidentally been removed from our comedy reviewers’ list.

Comedy Smoker

Comedy is a gift.

‘Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others’ (Groucho Marx)

If you can make someone laugh then you lift them straight out of themselves, out of their lives and away from everything that weighs them down.

We so often hear about the controversy of what one comic or other has posted on Twitter, or an inappropriate joke that they’ve made at an awards ceremony. But how often do we stand up (lol) and thank them for what they give us? Laughter. Laughing is a refuge from daily life, which is often hard to live with and fucking dull.

I’ve bought tickets for every smoker this term, and I haven’t regretted a penny of the money (interest free from Halifax) I’ve spent. I’m not going to bore you by saying that a by-product of fortnightly comedy shows, along with all the other comedy going on, means that it can be a bit ‘patchy’ or ‘hit and miss’.

Yes, not every cheeky chappy or chappette has me rolling in the aisles but even when they don’t I love them for getting up there and trying all the same.

It takes such guts, whether you were naturally the class clown or you’ve developed a brutal wit to cover how shy you are; to brave your jokes being met with nut-crunching silence is fucking impressive.

That isn’t to say that I don’t sometimes wish, whether on TV,  live in London or Cambridge (or even on occasion the North- yeah Sophie Thorpe, the north is a place to go to, I don’t just hop straight from the home counties to Scotland), that contemporary comedy were more inventive, and more original.

But there’s a reason why truly original comedy, the stuff that shakes us up, is rare. There is a reason Monty Python are heroes, because generations of comedy geniuses only come, well, maybe once in a generation. You never expect the Spanish inquisition and that’s what makes it brilliant.


If you have to ask what is comedy good for, just look at the fact that the programming of it, the buying of it, and the performing of it increases hugely in times of economic recession or political uncertainty.  At its best, it shocks us, reassures us, and then it makes us laugh at ourselves.

Buy a ticket for a comedy show, and realize it’s a beautiful thing. If they don’t make you lol enough, you’ll just be reassured by thinking you could be more amusing than them.

The crumb

Fuck off pigeon.