Josh Howie: Gran Slam

Israel, Murray Mints and guilt: the Crouch End comedian brings his schtick to a new show

By Lee Levitt, August 16, 2010
Josh Howie

Josh Howie

"This show is a lot less Jewy than last year's," says Josh Howie, referring to his 2008 Edinburgh run, "Chosen".

"I made a vow to my agent that being Jewish is no longer going to be my schtick."

So far, so ironic. Howie's mother is the PR guru Lynne Franks, Jennifer Saunders’ inspiration for her "Absolutely Fabulous" character Eddie; and Franks’ 87-year-old mother, Angela Franks, with whom Howie lived for the past four years in Arnos Grove (latterly with his wife, Monique) is the inspiration for his painstakingly crafted, densely packed new show.

In a bitingly irreverent performance that fizzes with wit and slick wordplay, jokes cascade off one another as Howie wonderfully recreates the Murray Mints, endless toilet rolls and guilt-tripping that went hand in hand with living with his grandmother.

In-between the deliciously barbed insults, he packs in some delightfully wry nuggets - "Israel's attitude to Palestinian land: it's just borderline racism" being among them. And there is also plenty of self-mockery. "My wife's a therapist, which is pretty useful to me. She's actually a child therapist, which is even more useful," he quips.

At times, indeed, the Crouch End comedian's just too quick for his audience. Go see - and see if you can keep up.

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Gran Slam is at Pleasance Hut

Last updated: 10:19am, August 18 2010