Robert Newman (comedian)

Robert Newman (comedian)

Robert ("Rob") Newman (born 7 July 1964) is a British stand-up comedian, author and political activist. In 1993 Newman and his then comedy partner David Baddiel became the first comedians to play and sell out the 12,000-seat Wembley Arena in London. He was born to a Greek Cypriot father and British mother.

Newman's first speaking appearance was with Third World First (now known as People and Planet), the student political organisation. In addition to comedy and writing, he has also worked as a paperboy in Whitwell, Hertfordshire, farmhand, warehouse-man, house-painter, teacher, mail sorter, social worker, mover, and broadcaster.

Comedy career

Newman read English at Cambridge University (Selwyn College).Facts|date=May 2008 He began his comedy career as an impressionist in the late 1980s before gaining fame when he appeared alongside Baddiel, Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt (among others; this was the regular quartet, however, all of them ex-Cambridge) in the BBC radio and TV programme "The Mary Whitehouse Experience" (1989-92).Facts|date=May 2008 The title was a jibe at the main campaigner for "moral decency" on television, Mary Whitehouse.Facts|date=May 2008 With "The Mary Whitehouse Experience", Newman and Baddiel had become "unlikely pin-ups as, in the early 1990s, comedy was being feted as 'the new rock and roll'," leading to their own series, "Newman and Baddiel in Pieces" (1993)." [ Newman and Baddiel in Pieces] ", "Comedy Guide", "BBC Radio 4", retrieved on 5 May 2008.]

The partnership with Baddiel was widely reported as being fraught with tension. Unlike most double acts, their shows (both on TV and stage) were characterised by the two alternately delivering solo monologues, rarely appearing together except in sketches (most famously, History Today). During the "Live and In Pieces" tour, relations deteriorated further, and the Wembley show was widely and accurately predicted to be their last appearance together.

After the break-up, the two men took wildly differing career paths. While Baddiel became part of the new lad phenomenon of the late 1990s, fronting shows like Fantasy Football League, Newman largely disappeared from public life, reappearing with solo work marked by a clear social conscience and anti-establishment views.Facts|date=May 2008 He covered the anti-globalisation Seattle protests of 1999 for the UK's Channel 4 News. He has been politically active with Reclaim the Streets, the Liverpool Dockers, Indymedia and Peoples' Global Action.Facts|date=May 2008

His later work is characterised by a very strong political element, and parallels the work of contemporaries such as Mark Thomas.Facts|date=May 2008 In 2003 Newman toured with "From Caliban to the Taliban", which was released on CD and DVD.Facts|date=May 2008 In 2005 the show "Apocalypso Now or, from P45 to AK47, how to Grow the Economy with the Use of War" debuted at the Bongo Club during the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.Facts|date=May 2008 "Apocalypso Now" toured nationally, sometimes as part of a double-bill where Newman was joined by Mark Thomas. The show was filmed at the Hoxton Hall in Hoxton, east London and shown on More4 under the title "A History of Oil", with a later release on CD and DVD.Facts|date=May 2008 A mixture of stand-up comedy and introductory lecture on geopolitics and peak oil, in "Apocalypso Now" Newman argues that twentieth-century Western foreign policy, including World War I, should be seen as a continuous struggle by the West to control Middle Eastern oil.Facts|date=May 2008 A lot of the data on peak oil presented by Newman is taken from Richard Heinberg's book "". [ [ "There's No Planet B: Interview: Robert Newman"] . "" (Blog), 31 March 2006, retrieved on 5 May 2008. [41-min. audio clip (podcast).] ]

In 2006 Newman performed a new show, "No Planet B or, The History of the World Backwards", at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, north-west London.Facts|date=May 2008 In 2007, the BBC commissioned a six-part series, The History of the World Backwards based on "No Planet B", for transmission on BBC Four.Facts|date=May 2008 The script of the stage version show is accessible on Newman's official website. [ [ "History"] , "", retrieved on 30 March 2007.]


Newman co-authored "The Mary Whitehouse Experience Encyclopedia" (1991), with David Baddiel, Hugh Dennis, and Steve Punt. .

He is the author of three novels: "Dependence Day" (1994); "Manners" (1998); and "The Fountain at the Centre of The World" (2003).

Reception of "The Fountain at the Centre of the World"

Dwight Garner, an editor of "The New York Times Book Review", reviewed "The Fountain at the Centre of the World" favorably, saying it was "the talismanic "Catch-22" of the anti-globalization protest movement, the fictional complement to Naomi Klein's influential exposé "". [Dwight Garner, [ "The Battle of Seattle"] , "The New York Times Book Review", 1 February 2004, retrieved on 5 May 2008.]

Documentary on writing process

Newman's process of writing the book is the subject of a BBC Two television documentary entitled "Scribbling".Facts|date=May 2008

Filmography and bibliography

;The Mary Whitehouse Experience
* 1989 - "The Mary Whitehouse Experience" (radio series).
* 1990 - "The Mary Whitehouse Experience" (television series).
* 1991 - "The Mary Whitehouse Experience Encyclopedia" (series companion book). ISBN 1857020456 (10). ISBN 978-1857020458 (13). (Co-author, with David Baddiel, Hugh Dennis, and Steve Punt.)

;Newman and Baddiel
*1991 - "From the Mary Whitehouse Experience" (live vhs release).
*1992 - "History Today" (live vhs release).
*1993 - "Newman and Baddiel in Pieces" (television series).
*1993 - "Live and in Pieces" (live vhs release).

;Solo career
*1994 - "Dependence Day" (novel).
*1994 - "The Dependence Day Video" (live vhs release).
*1998 - "Manners" (novel).
*2001 - "Resistance is Fertile" (live vhs release).
*2003 - "Scribbling" (television special).
*2003 - "The Fountain at the Centre of the World" (novel). ISBN 1859845738 (10).
*2004 - "From Caliban to the Taliban: 500 Years of Humanitarian Intervention" (live dvd release).
*2004 - "From Caliban to the Taliban: 500 Years of Humanitarian Intervention" (live limited edition handmade 2cd release).
*2005 - "Apocalypso Now or, from P45 to AK47, how to Grow the Economy with the Use of War" (live 2cd release).
*2006 - "A History of Oil" (television special).
*2007 - "A History of Oil" (live dvd release).
*2007 - "The History of the World Backwards" (television series).

ee also

*Nestlé boycott in the media
*"Newman and Baddiel in Pieces"


Further reading

*Jeffries, Stuart. [,,1541598,00.html "Has Britain Lost Its Sense of Humour?"] "The Guardian", "", 3 August 2005, Special Report: Edinburgh. (Leader: "One of the strengths of the British character, we have always told ourselves, is our sense of humour. But stand-up comedians and sitcoms are getting increasingly dark, satirical - and, arguably, unfunny. As the Edinburgh fringe, the showcase for the cream of the nation's comedy, kicks off, Stuart Jeffries asks: are the British forgetting how to laugh?") Accessed 5 May 2008.
*Newman, Robert. [,,1700302,00.html "Comment: It's Capitalism or a Habitable Planet - You Can't Have Both"] . "The Guardian", "", 2 February 2006. (Leader: "Our economic system is unsustainable by its very nature. The only response to climate chaos and peak oil is major social change.") Accessed 5 May 2008.
*–––. [,,1876105,00.html "Sorry Mick, But I'm Not Laughing"] . "The Guardian", "", 23 September 2006. (Leader: "Even The Stones are worried about their carbon emissions these days, writes Robert Newman.") Accessed 5 May 2008.

External links

*imdb name|name=Rob Newman|id=0628240. Accessed 5 May 2008.
* [ Robert Newman] – Official Website. Accessed 5 May 2008.

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