Putney Comedy Tree: Putney, London, 2009
Steve Best: Clicking Comedians: Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 2018
Steve Best: Comedians Back To Front: The Observatory Photography Gallery, Marchmont Street, London, 2020
Comedian Steve Best is exhausting to watch. He is a frantically funny and great visual comedic and his very juvenile approach to life makes time in his company pure joy. On stage, he manages to connect an overwhelming collection of jokes and devices to keep his audience enthralled and in fits of laughter. I witnessed this when I saw him perform at the Putney Comedy Tree in London in 2009.
Best is also a professional photography and has produced two books: Comedy Snapshot (2014) and Jokerface (2017). The books feature Best’s photographic portraits of fellow comedians that make up the current circuit and are both excellent reads. In 2017, when I turned fifty, I went to the Edinburgh Fringe and being a big fan of Mervyn Stutter and his Pick of the Fringe showcase, after one show Best very kindly took a picture of Stutter with me. I was extremely grateful for this and the photo is a great memory. I wish Best every success in his future endeavours.
A photographic exhibition of his photographic work called Clicking Comedians was at the Pleasance Dome during the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2018 and I went along to have a look. Best has been a funny man for many years and he has got to know hundreds of comics which has enabled him to gain exclusive access to the world of comedy. Many photos feature comedians relaxing pre and post gig. My two favourite photographs from the display were of Sarah Pascoe caught laughing and Phil Nichol in a typical manic on-stage pose.
In January 2020, I attended the Observatory Photography Gallery where more of Best’s work was on display. The exhibition entitled Comedians Back To Front featured photographs of comedians behind the scenes, in dressing rooms, walking on stage, waiting nervously. Superb shots of Barry Cryer, Jeremy Hardy, amongst others stood out as I walked around. The exhibition runs until June 2020 and is well worth a visit.
Best has managed to capture the essence of the stand-up comedy world with his superb photography.