Si Hawkins checks in with comics who've journeyed to the darkest depths of development hell - TV, radio, film or new-fangled web ventures - and are still standing.
Monday 17th May 2021
He's now a Radio 4 documentarian, with a unique insight into why people get stuck in things: Ian Smith talks contortion tests, grim swings, crossword podcasts, polar bear chasing, and how lots of backstage areas will be very tense as comedy returns.
Monday 19th April 2021
Cheered by rave reviews for their punk doc, King Rocker, Stewart Lee and Michael Cumming talk lockdown darkness, awkward legends, post-punk vs new comedy, Swells, Skinner, and the upside of ads and panel shows.
Monday 13th July 2020
His career had lost momentum and his mood was dark. Then lockdown struck, and Bilal Zafar found himself with the unlikeliest change of direction: managing a surreal virtual soccer team on an old video game. Now he's getting loads of viewers and even selling replica shirts. Which is a far cry from the not-fun TV work he was offered before.
Wednesday 24th June 2020
Olga Koch should now be travelling, after giving up her tech job for grad school. Still, there is a cool stand-up event on the horizon: her last show If/Then is going vinyl. We talk sinister tech, right-wing swings, Soviet equality, immigration, Tarkovsky vs Chernobyl, and live comedy vs first dates.
Thursday 28th May 2020
Thursday 30th April 2020
Podcast pioneer, Scope patron and now lockdown sports star, Richard Herring seems to thrive when big career obstacles land in his path: he's even turned stone clearing into cult viewing. But how will the rest of comedy recover, as the dust settles?
Tuesday 21st April 2020
Her great year looked to have stalled, but Jayde Adams is achieving a long-held ambition with her anything-can-happen Couch Cabaret. Here we also tackle review snobbery, that Kylie Jenner title change, and her TikTok triumph.
Tuesday 10th March 2020
She worked on Jon Stewart's Daily Show and The Late Show with David Letterman, and is now a fearless political stand-up, with a run at the Soho Theatre coming up. But what will Jena Friedman do if another comedy of errors lets that orange fellah retake the White House?
Thursday 28th November 2019
We were wondering where in the West End to meet Robin Ince for a chat about his books (out and forthcoming), progress hinderers, problematic material, and this year's two-city Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People. What better setting than tea at the British Museum, right next to some totem poles?
Monday 23rd September 2019
Late in the Edinburgh Fringe we hunkered down with John-Luke Roberts to talk about his splendidly-crafted but stupidly-named new show - now on tour - plus TV writing, tricky audience sizes, Izzard, Python, his early stuff, his awkward stuff, and that surprising award snub last year.
Monday 16th September 2019
As her UK tour rolls into Soho Theatre, Circuit Training finds Shappi Khorsandi in a high street store, actively juggling life and comedy. It's a balance that wasn't really working before her big TV break - but this show celebrates those circuit days. Although that I'm A Celebrity windfall was clearly handy too...
Monday 10th June 2019
The last time Circuit Training bumped into Lloyd Griffith he was embarking on a new job with Soccer AM. Now - as he limbers up for a 3pm kick-off at Richmond's Big Funny Fest - the busy Sky, Netflix and net-minding comic is going international.
Friday 10th May 2019
Yikes! This month it's ten years since the first Circuit Training dropped, and so to celebrate we go deep with the UK-bound, also-celebrating Kevin Smith. It's 25 years since he inspired a generation of budding directors with Clerks, then inadvertently became a stand-up, a job that nearly proved terminal last year. He's in splendid form about that, his Springsteen-like live shows, podcast wives, Marvel vs Mallrats, and - unexpectedly - Ian Cognito.
Saturday 30th March 2019
He took eyebrow-acting lessons from Roger Moore, became a jumper-clad TV presenter then a high-ranking whip in John Major's government, where he changed marriage forever. Now Gyles Brandreth is on tour, but one topic is off the table. "If I mention Brexit during the show I give everybody their money back."