Valentine’s Day Gifts for Comedy Lovers
Our resident romance expert investigates Valentine's Day gifts suitable for those whose amorous appetites are activated by their love of comedy.
So, you’ve got someone you fancy. Good for you. And you don’t normally do Valentine’s Day because, as we all know, it commemorates the death of a heretic who performed illegal marriage ceremonies and was then beheaded. But this year, you’ve decided to get your comedy-lovin’ slam-piece something more tailored to their interests… so where to start?
Full-frontal romance live on stage
Impress your smooshbuddy by going to see live comedy rather than lazily buying the latest tour DVD. The Stand’s bases in Edinburgh and Glasgow each boast an Anti-Valentine's Day show featuring local and international talent, at once acknowledging the occasion and giving it a two-fingered salute.
For the traditionalists, Glasgow’s Yesbar is hosting the dead romantic and lovey-dovey Shaggers Valentine’s Special, with an optional two-course dinner and glass of fizz to accompany an ace line-up of comedians talking to you about sex. Aww.
Of course, the normal comedic smorgasbord of events is still available with little to no cartoon heart branding from Monkey Barrel comedy at the Beehive Inn on Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. Just bring your own heart-shaped sweeties.
For a gift that lasts, and keeps them quiet for a while, get a book. Recent publications that your naked-wrestling partner may enjoy include Isy Suttie’s The Actual One; a heartfelt yet off-beat reflection on one award-winning musical comedian’s journey into adulthood.
In his book Things To Make and Do In The Fourth Dimension, Stand-up mathematician Matt Parker has created the perfect gift for anyone who likes comedy and also thinks they’re a bit clever. Parker moves from basic counting to multi-dimensional shapes and computer circuitry using great humour and wonderfully awful puns, making sure he never loses your attention.
Just like the movies
Accidental comedy hero and cult legend Tommy Wiseau is taking time out of his busy schedule not once, not twice, but four times over the weekend to field Q&As after screenings of B-movie masterpiece The Room. The Cameo cinema in Edinburgh plays host once again to this bitter tale of deception and betrayal, boasting some of the longest and least sexy sex scenes of any film you will ever see. Wiseau’s best-loved work has spawned hilarious musicals and scream-along screenings galore.
Over in Glasgow, The Grosvenor is playing True Romance on Friday and Saturday. This upbeat mob-rom-com will have you laughing with rather than at it, and has one of the nicest, bubbliest soundtracks around. Go along with someone you actually like a bit.
Eat your art out
Steve Best’s book Comedy Snapshot is a great addition to any comedy-and-photography-lover’s collection, featuring gags from and shots of hundreds of comics, including Harry Hill, Omid Djalili and Jo Brand. Idil Sukan’s This Comedian collection features vibrant and personal portraits of some of the biggest names in the business, from Bridget Christie to Sir Patrick Stewart and even Miss Piggy. After all, anyone who doesn’t appreciate an intimate and well-lit portrait of a muppet isn’t worth dating anyway.
If you are dead-set on splashing your cash around, you may as well splash it towards some of those starving creative types and get a one-of-a-kind piece of art custom-made for your spoogie. Commission a piece from Paul Law if you want space monsters and beautiful typography to accompany a long-legged likeness of your lover (he even does animal lovin' comedy scribes) or get a bespoke piece from Zhang Liang if busy fluorescent disco scenes (or accurate depictions of the misanthropic scribblers among us) are more your bag.
A cursory internet search for alternative Valentine’s Day gifts can unearth some other real treasures from the art world. At thebookofeveryone.com you can produce a tailor-made illustrated book about the life of your favourite human, and all with less than a minute’s thought – maybe more if you don’t know their full name or date of birth. One commentator described this as being 'both way too much and a bit creepy, and far, far too little effort.' Somewhere out there is a person whose boat will be floated by nothing less.
It is, unbelievably, still cold outside, so get some food on the go and finally watch that TV show they’ve been insisting you see. If you lack culinary inspiration, look up George Egg, who charmed the Fringe with his show about cooking meals in hotel rooms using only “the utensils they unwittingly provide.”
Louis CK’s new series Horace and Pete, available only from the legendary comic’s own site, is entirely independently made, meaning this is one sit-com without endless ad breaks. The lack of big studio funding gives the comedians at its heart the freedom to create something comedic and tragic. Your real gift to them is joining in the rigorous analysis of each gag directly afterwards.
Comedy and tragedy collide again and again in the heart-wrenchingly hilarious Not Safe for Work on Channel 4. In a mere six servings we have some of the most awkward conversations possible, around apathetic civil servants who turn into a team of underdogs just trying to survive. The writers have a habit of making you really feel for a character before punching them in the gut, then throwing in a few more jokes to round off each episode. You'll want to share a bottle or two for this one.