The Return of The Big Laugh In: Labatts Apollo, Manchester, 1991
The Now Show (BBC Recording): BBC Radio Theatre, London, 2005 – 2011
The Now Show Live: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2006
Punt and Dennis: Stuff and Nonsense: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2007
The Now Show (BBC Recording): BBC Radio Theatre, London, 2023
Steve Punt is one half of the comedy double act Punt & Dennis – the other being Hugh Dennis. From 1990 to 1993, they began as part of The Mary Whitehouse Experience together with David Baddiel and Rob Newman. I first saw them live in 1991 as part of a comedy showcase The Return of The Laugh In at Manchester’s Labatt’s Apollo. The show included early sets from luminaries Steve Coogan, Arnold Brown, Alan Davies and Dave Gorman amongst other and Punt and Dennis proved worthy comic adversaries awkwardly but confidently performing cutting satire from the current headlines.
Their long running BBC Radio 4 show based on the week’s news The Now Show has been running from 1998 to the present day. Created, written by and hosted by Punt and Dennis, the show is a mixture of stand-up comedy, sketches and songs. I attended wonderful live recordings between 2005 and 2011 where Punt came across as the intelligent and clever contributor and Dennis was the clever but slightly dafter one always treating the audience to his classic dinosaur impersonation before each recording. The show used to feature regular appearances by Jon Holmes, Laura Shavin or Emma Kennedy, a special guest monologue, and music by Mitch Benn, but now features a much wider range of contributors. I don’t know why I haven’t been over the last few years – too busy with other commitments I suppose – but recently and as an example, it was great to tune in at the regular time of 630pm on a Friday night and hear Glenn Moore and Ian Smith performing sets on the show.
I saw Punt and Dennis also perform live at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2006 with a live version of The Now Show and then in 2007 with Stuff and Nonsense. Covering subjects from the BBC, the British Olympic bid strategy and ITV phone-in competitions, the show was an intelligently funny hour of pop cultured current satire written with such cutting wit by the two comedy stars that was extremely polished and loved by the audience.
It was great to return to the BBC Radio Theatre in April 2023 to watch another recording of The Now Show. In it’s 25th year, the show created by and starring Punt and Hugh Dennis cast a sharp satirical eye on the week’s news and shows no signs thankfully of slowing down.