As the Glasgow International Comedy Festival prepares to launch with a gaggle of giggles later this month, we count down Scotland's funniest 60 people.The Herald, 3rd March 2019
Sue Perkins has become ubiquitous at the BBC in the last few years, whether eating peculiar period food or learning to conduct orchestras or telling us about Mrs Dickens/Maria Von Trapp or, as co-host of The Great British Bake-Off, making bad puns about buns. Someone, somewhere, has decided we can't get enough of her. You may have your own feelings about this. Well, here she is again, allegedly going back to her comedy roots with her own sitcom, where she plays Sara, a neurotic vet who's about to turn 40 but hasn't yet managed to tell her parents that she's gay.
Despite being kind of annoying, she has supportive friends (including ever-reliable performers Nicola Walker and Joanna Scanlan) and is able to attract hot ladies like Shelley Conn, who is charmed by Sara's rotten patter and way with extracting barbed wire from dogs' paws.
Around 50 per cent of the show is laboured animal slapstick - there is a dead cat which is lugged around to decreasing effect - and the other half is meant to be touching, as Sara wrestles with her inadequacies and her friends urge her to finally come out to her folks. It's an awkward mix. The comedy just isn't that funny and the sentiment isn't that interesting. At times I felt a bit of second-hand embarrassment and - worst of all - the show reminded me of two grim indulgent sitcoms of years past: Baddiel's Syndrome, in which David Baddiel and his mates failed miserably at doing a Seinfeld, and Rhona, in which Rhona Cameron and her mates (including Perkins' double act and Bake-Off partner Mel Giedroyc) failed at doing an Ellen. What they all have in common is that their stars aren't actually actors but stand-ups, and that the other two only lasted one series. There's a lesson there.Andrea Mullaney, The Scotsman, 23rd February 2013
My Teenage Diary is riveting when it works. How do the producers manage to persuade people to do it? Most of the people I know who kept a teenage diary - all women it has to be said - would rather eat their own legs than revisit them in hearing distance of the listening public.
The comedian Rhona Cameron, who grew up on a Wimpy estate in Musselburgh, East Lothian, in the 1970s, was particularly brave as her adolescence was one of bullying, persecution, rebellion, bereavement and desperate unrequited lesbian love. But dear old Rhona chuckled and chortled through her angst-ridden jottings as if reading about someone else's life.Nick Smurthwaite, The Stage, 25th July 2012
Bethany Black is one of comedies "new breed", making her mark on the scene after a steady succession of successes. She's not only featured in magazines like Bizarre and Diva but has written for The Guardian as well and has shared stages with the likes of Omid Djalili, Alan Carr, Rhona Cameron, plus written for comedians as diverse as Brendon Burns and Jimmy Cricket. Yes, she's quite a talented lady.Panic Spot, 28th April 2011
We do love a bit of camp, we Brits. Frankie Howerd, Larry Grayson, Dick Emery, Mr Humphries aka John Inman all perpetuated the non-threatening camp stereotype in the sixties and seventies - unlimited innuendo but no sex please, we're British.
That all changed in the eighties with the coming of alternative comedy and the black leather-clad Julian Clary. Camp's hidden agenda was well and truly outed, paving the way for Rhona Cameron, Graham Norton, Simon Fanshawe and others to do full-frontal gay comedy, warts and all.
In The Archive Hour, Simon Fanshawe traced the history of gay comedy over the past 30 years, from the double standards of Howerd and Grayson, always fearful of alienating the audience by appearing openly homosexual, through the overtly gay material of Clary and Cameron to today's more androgynous approach, where the quality of the material counts for more than any concerns about sexuality.
You got the impression Julian Clary quite missed the shock and awe days of the eighties - "I enjoyed the sharp intake of breath when I crossed the line" - though Fanshawe was in no doubt that today's open-minded audiences were much to be preferred.
Graham Norton said he soon got bored with doing gay jokes, having traded on his gayness at first, and consciously started to introduce other subjects. "I was lucky in that I could do Irish jokes as well as gay jokes," he said.
I'd never heard of the Australian Brendan Burns, a straight stand-up who does a funny line in anti-homophobic material, nor the Anglo-Bengali gay stand-up Paul Sinha, but their contributions sent me scurrying off to YouTube to see further exposure.Nick Smurthwaite, The Stage, 28th September 2010