Sonisphere – Are You Having A Laugh? First Comedy Names Revealed

Sonisphere Festival Knebworth has revealed the first batch of comedy acts for the 2011 event. Since its inception, Sonisphere has proved that it is more than just your average Rock Festival, putting Abba tribute act Bjorn Again alongside the top names in rock and metal in its first year, and delivering a hugely successful comedy line up boasting the likes of Tim Minchin, who has since gone on to become a household name, in its second. This year, the comedy element at Sonisphere expands, not just with some of the most prolific comedians on the scene, but also with an extra day, with Bohemia hosting comedy from the Thursday through to Sunday. Comedy is becoming increasingly more popular at music festivals and Sonisphere is proud to be leading the charge by delivering the biggest names and most exciting new talent ever to be seen at a rock festival.

Headlining the Saturn Arena stage on the Sunday night is none other than award-winning comedy legend and multi-instrumentalist Bill Bailey. Having started out on the stand-up circuit before having his own show commissioned by the BBC and making guest appearances in cult comedy series Spaced, Bill Bailey was propelled into the mainstream after being cast as Dylan Moran’s put-upon assistant Manny in Black Books, before taking over from Sean Hughes for a six year stint as team captain on long-running music quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Numerous television and film appearances have followed, including regular participation in panel shows such as QI and Have I Got News For You and casting in hit drama Skins and films such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Hot Fuzz and, most recently, a starring role in British comedy Chalet Girl.

However it is in his live shows featuring surrealist humour and leftfield storytelling and set to a soundtrack that utilises an eclectic range of instruments, including the under-appreciated theremin and the often-neglected kazoo, that Bill Bailey’s unique comedy styling can truly shine. Having sold out multiple nights at the O2 Arena plus recently completing a hugely successful ten week residency at London’s Wyndham Theatre earlier this year, addressing a broad spectrum of subject matter from current affairs to Kraftwerk, Bill Bailey is set to bring his inimitable performance – which historically has featured musical delights ranging from an Emo inspired song to his own interpretation of Slayer – for Sonisphere’s first ever outdoor comedy set, and the largest live comedy performance ever to be hosted at a Rock festival in the UK. Bill comments, “I am utterly stoked to be playing Sonisphere alongside some of my heroes of metal. Unleash the Wild Dogs of Rock!”

Jackass superstar Steve-O chooses Sonisphere to make his debut UK stand-up performance where he will headline the day’s comedy in Bohemia. There are very few people on this earth who have inflicted as much damage to themselves as Steve-O: his history reads like a catalogue of insanity, with achievements including several arrests (including an obscenity charge for stapling his scrotum to his leg), encasing himself in a “fart mask”, hosting a fireworks display between his buttocks and being driven across a bumpy desert road by Henry Rollins while a tattoo artist attempts to etch a smiley face onto his arm. Given his CV, Steve-O certainly has more than a few shocking yet highly amusing stories to tell. Previous live shows have seen hilarious anecdotes from his past mixed in with stunts including using himself as a human match, balancing knives on his face and squeezing fresh lime juice into his eyes. What this Wizard of Pain has planned for his debut UK performance is yet to be seen, but one thing remains certain – it is not to be missed.

Comedian, actor and radio host Jim Breuer will show the UK why he is one of the biggest names in American comedy as he flies in for his UK debut at Sonisphere. Close friends with Metallica, Breuer shot to superstardom after a four year run on Saturday Night Live and his appearance alongside Dave Chappelle in the cult classic movie “Half Baked.” With many accolades including Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time,” Breuer is currently one of the top touring comedians in the US. As well as hosting his own Sirius program he has an enormous listenership, including a one hour special on Comedy Central, “Let’s Clear The Air,” one of the channel’s highest rated specials raking in over a million viewers. Breuer is a regular guest on the Howard Stern show, and has his own podcast on iTunes top 20. His appearances include several stints on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” as well as roles in numerous movies including “Dick,” “Once in the Life,” “Beer League,” and “The Zookeeper” with Kevin James. Fans adoringly describe Breuer’s multigenerational family comedy as “the modern day Bill Cosby, if he was wearing a Metallica t-shirt.” A promising picture for what is sure to be a historical debut.

Returning to Sonisphere, Portsmouth-born vegan, anarchist, transvestite and occult heavy metal comedian-come-musician-writer extraordinaire Andrew O’neill is welcomed back after leaving Bohemia in stitches in 2010. Having been a stand-up comedian for eight years, Andrew has performed in comedy clubs and theatres throughout the UK and abroad, conducting comedy tours of Jack the Ripper murder sites and regularly appearing on radio and television. In 2009 Andrew was nominated for the Chortle Awards’ Breakthrough Act, and has received rave reviews across the press, and accolades from some of comedy’s legends, including Steve Coogan, who considered Andrew “so funny I put him in my new TV show” (Saxondale).

According to Metal Hammer Magazine – who are in a perfect place to judge, being both experts on Metal and having let him host their 2009 Golden Gods Awards – Canadian Jason Rouse is “the most Metal comedian on the planet”. If Bill Bailey is the Metallica of the comedy line up at Sonisphere this summer, Jason Rouse is the Watain – brutal, dark, twisted and hell-bent on turning the mainstream comedy world upside down. Over the last decade this comedy outsider has sharpened his teeth in clubs and festivals all over the world and become the most celebrated ‘odd-ball’ in comedy today. His stand-up comedy act is a clever combination of devilishly crafted jokes and ‘freak-show-like’ theatrics, which will pit your sense of morals against your sense of humour as this jester from hell forces you to laugh at stuff you should not find funny.

The perfect example of what happens when real rock, comedy and booze mix together Bob Slayer should feel right at home when making his Sonisphere debut this summer. Bob’s comedy awakening came while working as tour manager for hedonistic hellraisers The Bloodshound Gang, as they nipped out for a cigarette break mid-set while trying to adjust to the recently introduced UK smoking ban. Thrown in at the deep end, Bob was forced to learn on his feet as 1500 fans threw stuff at him (on the band’s instruction) and after a few days, his survival instincts had formulated a hugely well received routine. As a comedian he has toured all over the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, and Hong Kong, Norway and appeared at numerous festivals as well as Edinburgh, Brighton, Bath & Swansea Fringes.

Jason John Whitehead has been performing his brand of stand up comedy all over the world for 12 years now and it is with great excitement that Sonisphere welcomes him to this year’s comedy line up. A regular at international comedy festivals in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, UK, Holland and his home country of Canada, as well as headline tours on the British and international circuit, Jason has headlined prestigious clubs such as The Comedy Store, Jongleurs, Highlight, The Glee Club, and Yuk Yuks. Described by the Leicester Mercury as “an irresistibly loveable combination of freaked out pot head and a south park character, with a bit of Ozzy thrown in for good measure”, Jason’s set at Sonisphere promises deadpan observational humour that will leave the bands outdoors competing over the decibel levels of the resulting laughter spilling out from Bohemia.

A hugely successful stand-up in his own right, Kiwi comedian Jarred Christmas returns to Sonisphere to compere the comedy on Saturday. His impressive list of credits include appearances on Mock The Week, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, BBC2 sitcom The Persuasionists and Dave Channel’s Argumental, as well as dancing like Madonna for Comic Relief. Having scooped a ‘Best Compere’ gong from last year’s Chortle Awards, Jarred’s dynamic onstage persona coupled with his ability to improvise and roll with anything that’s thrown at him make him the perfect candidate to MC for a lively festival crowd, as he proved last year and will no doubt do again this July.

With this announcement, Sonisphere 2011 is truly coming into its own, and has a few more surprises to come which will show just what a forward thinking festival this is. Boasting some of the biggest names in rock across the Apollo and Saturn arena stages, which are considerately timed to ensure no clashes, and with an extended break planned between the end of Bill Bailey’s set (to allow punters to recover from the stitches the comedy genius will inevitably leave them in) before the mighty Slipknot take the stage. With more stages still to be announced, including more comedy, fantastic bands and other alternative performances, Sonisphere Knebworth 2011 is going to be simply unmissable, and with weekend tickets selling at an ever more rapid pace, is heading towards its first full sellout.

Sonisphere Knebworth takes place 8th – 10th July 2011 at Knebworth House. For tickets and more info go to www.sonispherefestivals.com

Line Up So Far

The Big 4 – Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax
Biffy Clyro
Slipknot
Airbourne
Alestorm
All Time Low
Arch Enemy
Architects
The Black Dahlia Murder
Black Tide
Diamond Head
Firewind
Four Year Strong
Fozzy
Gallows
Gojira
Grinspoon
House Of Pain
In Flames
Inme
Kids In Glass Houses
Killing Joke
Limp Bizkit
The Mars Volta
Mastodon
Motörhead
One Minute Silence
Opeth
Parkway Drive
Periphery
Protest The Hero
Rise To Remain
Six Hour Sundown
Sum 41
The Sisters Of Mercy
The Treatment
Volbeat
Watain
Weezer
You Me At Six

Comedy Line-Up So Far:
Bill Bailey
Steve-O
Andrew O Neill
Bob Slayer
Jarred Christmas
Jason John Whitehead,
Jason Rouse
Jim Breuer

     

About Michael

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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