Keith Allen Rallies Against Politically-Correct Comedy

Actor Keith Allen yesterday slammed the Edinburgh Fringe AND Geordie comics …. for not being funny.

The Trainspotting star, 63, kicking off his new search for comedy talent around the UK, admitted he was glad to be avoiding the festival north of the border.

Allen, father to singer Lily and actor Alfie, who plays Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones, said: “Thank God we’re not going to Edinburgh – I just couldn’t bear that.”

He also revealed comedians from Newcastle don’t make him laugh and said: “I have a problem with Geordie comics. I don’t really know why because I really like Newcastle.”

However, the Vindaloo singer was full of praise for the West Midlands: “I feel awful we’re not going to Birmingham.

“Some of the funniest people in the world come from Birmingham.”

Allen spoke out in Bristol as he launched the talent search for a new TV show to be broadcast in the UK on the Russia Today channel later this year.

The programme will be based on The Establishment Club, the legendary haven founded by master of satire Peter Cook.

Fronted by Allen, the club will take a Routemaster bus to four more cities – Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle.

The ex-punk rocker will be judging along with a panel of Establishment Club greats, including producer Victor Lewis-Smith of Associated-Rediffusion and Mike O’Brien of Laughing Stock Productions.

The best of the performances will go up on the Establishment Club website and the cream of the crop will feature on a television show about the club to be screened in the UK on the Russia Today channel later in the year.

Keith added: “The Establishment Club is not just about comedy – it can be about anything.

“I just think we have to do something because this has gone too far, this ‘comedy’. I think laughter is too precious to waste on comedy.”

The idea is a reboot of the original Establishment Club, founded on Greek Street in Soho by the legendary Peter Cook in 1961.

And has been revived at various times since then and featured names such as Stephen Fry, Terry Alderton, and John Cooper Clarke.

The Club’s comedy talent hunt continues in Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle.

Victor Lewis-Smith said: “In recent years, mainstream broadcasters seem to have given up on investing in edgy and boundary-pushing satire.

“Satirical current affairs show News Thing makes Have I Got News For You look like Blue Peter, just without the coked-up presenters.”

The Establishment Club bus will wind its way along the length of the country, stopping off in:

  • 15th August – Brighton, Jubilee Library Square, 9.30am-4pm
  • 23rd August – Edinburgh, Castle Street, 10.30am -4pm
  • 30th August – Manchester, Exchange Square, 10am-4pm
  • 6th September – Newcastle, Grainger Street, 10am-4pm

Those who are not able to make it to the bus are invited to submit their performances via the Establishment club website – and join the conversation via the campaign hashtag #EstClubTour


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