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Beer boy's boozy banter.

AL MURRAY, THE PUB LANDLORD

Some say he's an Alf Garnett for the '90s - a spouting cesspit of outrageous opinion, political incorrectness and stupidity, but who's side-splittingly funny with it. Al Murray's tirade of boozy banter is the culmination of where comedy in clubs has been headed for years. After all, think of the times you've been to a comedy club only to spend most of the night trying to attract the attention of the barman instead of watching the witty geezer on stage. Well, Al cuts out the middle man. He's the witty geezer - and the barman.

His subject matter is exactly what you'd expect from a landlord of the old school - the horror that is alcopops, the terror of serving up sparkling mineral water, the lack of modern jazz in pubs and the oddness of the French. "Each year we have a boat show," he rants. "It's a show that shows boats. That's a lean cut of language. But the French? For them, it has to be `une exposition de notres bateaux maritimes'. They're their own worst enemy, the French."

At times it can seem as if you haven't arrived at the club at all but that you're still sitting in the back of a black cab. But Al delivers his gags with such pace and energy that you don't care where you are. As a result, he's had honours heaped on him, most notably the 1996 British Guild Of Beer Writers Award for Humorous Writing About Beer. And three times he's been nominated for a Perrier Award. On the basis that a hatrick of any kind is worth celebrating catch his show, the Late Lock-In, at The Improv for the next four Saturdays.

October 24 & 31, November 7 & 14, The Improv, 161 Tottenham Court Road, W1 10pm-3am (0171 387 2414/344 4444)
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Quinn, Thomas
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 23, 1998
Words:305
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