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A new Ian Bowler video for you…


We’ve got a show coming up. Ahem.

It’s traditional at this point to write a thing about how it’s going to be the best show in town that night, and you should drop everything to go and see it. But I can’t write that. Because we’re not the best show in town that night.

We’re not even the best show at the Leicester Square Theatre that night.


Playing in the main house, when we’re in the Lounge is Barry Crimmins. If you haven’t heard of Barry, go and watch Bobcat Goldthwait’s documentary about him right now. It’s on Netflix. you have no excuse.


He’s going to be amazing. If I weren’t in a show approximately thirty feet below him at the time, I’d definitely be going to see his show. Because it’s going to be brilliant, and angry, and a life-affirming experience.

So, we’re definitely not the best thing on there that night.


And then Bridget Christie’s on. She’s almost guaranteed to be better and more thoughtful and more worth telling your friends you’ve seen than us.


Oh, and Will bloody Franken’s on. One of the most naturally-gifted character comics you’ll ever see will be on a stage close enough for you to touch his mad brilliance.

So we’re possibly the fourth best show at the Leicester Square Theatre this weekend.

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Except that Aatif is excellent, too…

God, this is depressing.

Not that ours isn’t brilliant. It is. It’s a life-affirming hour of Wombles, Rumbelowses, ruminations on the philosophy of lookaliking, OHP shadow theatre, and a lots and lots of jokes.

It’s also short enough that you can see it and then go on and do something else.

Like seeing one of those other shows.

Buy your tickets here!


Defeat? I do not recognise the meaning of the word!

Mrs Thatcher said that at the beginning of the Falklands War. Which was brave, because in most situations, as you’re going into a war, you’d at least want a leader who knew the meaning of basic military terminology.

We can only imagine her wild confusion on learning the Argentinians had suffered huge defeats.

She’s been dead for years now, and yet – here I am – still yammering on about Thatcher, uselessly thrashing at her corpse with the pathetic fronds of what passes for wit in this benighted ago.

I’m doing another show about her at the end of the month.


I told a friend and they asked me why I was doing another show about Thatcher. I said I didn’t think I did that many shows about Thatcher. They pointed out that every show I’ve done since 2009 has featured Margaret Thatcher in some form or another.

I even did a seance for her.

They wondered if it wasn’t a bit creepy, if I wasn’t just making money out of the misery of a demented, helpless, vulnerable old lady. I think that’s what she would have wanted.

But yes, from The Thatcher Seance to the recounting of her final minutes in The Bowler Debates, she’s always been there, hovering, like a vulture. Like a vulture with less compassion than other vultures.


In everything I write, in everything I do, it seems like the big problem we’re addressing is Thatcher. A dead woman who hasn’t been in power for a quarter of a century.

And yet we’ve got someone trying out their best Thatcherisms at PMQs. We’ve got a Labour Party ready to split, ready to be led by a Welsh nonentity that no-one really cares for…

It’s like she’s reaching out from beyond the grave, demanding we pay her theatrical tribute, refusing to die until we’ve exorcised her from ourselves.

But it’s not like anyone even comes. Last time we did this show we had six people at one performance at The Hen & Chickens.

It’s enough to make you want to stop flogging that dead person.

It’s enough to make you give up.

But then I remember.

Defeat? I do not recognise the meaning of the word…

Book your tickets for Margaret Thatcher & The Buster Merryfield Resemblance here.

So, The Thatcher Seance is happening, and it’s ruffling a few feathers. Here’s the trailer:

Chortle has called the show “bad taste”, UsVsTh3m has compiled a list of other world leaders you might want to contact via ouija board.

The show is already part of history, as I previewed it as part of the record-breaking attempt to perform the world’s longest comedy gig. Ha! Take that, Norris Macwhirter, and your other friends on the creepy far right…

If I were you I’d book tickets now. See you there.  And maybe her, too.


The girl in front of me is about to cry, and I’m not really sure how to deal with this. It’s not often as a performer that what you do move people to tears (it’s certainly not often that what *I* do does) and I’m not sure of the protocol. Maybe I should have stuck to comedy…

Melmoth Darkleigh began his life as just as weird voice. When we were doing the In The Gloaming podcasts I wanted them to have a host, someone like Roald Dahl at the beginning of the early serieseses of Tales Of The Unexpected or the Cryptkeeper from Tales From The Crypt. He was a creepy voice and an excuse to some cackling over the theme tune every month. I can’t resist a good cackle.

The next year we were booked to perform the podcasts as a live show a few times, including in the delightfully spooky Arundel Jailhouse. In the couple of weeks before that show all of the cast dropped out. Some were busy, some were ill, some probably just didn’t feel like going to do a profit-share show in the wilds of the Downs. So, a couple of days before, when the last person got an advert, I was left with a couple of days to write a one-man In The Gloaming show. Which is where Melmoth crept in…

The show took the form of a kind of seance, where Melmoth would summon ghosts from the venue’s past. It was an excuse to wheel out a lot of dark, old character monologues, and hang then together with some new stuff. And the show did quite well, and I did it a few times over the next couple of years.

Magic was always a very minor part of the show. To add to the creepiness I always tried to have a couple of inexplicable moments in the show, to make it really unsettling. This ranged from a bit of cold reading to a Haunted Boggle, which would predict an audience member’s death. Usually ‘drowned whilst wanking.’

This year, however, I decided to raise the stakes. To see if I couldn’t really convince an audience that Melmoth had strange, occult powers. I started doing larger effects, and dropping the monologues. image

As I learned and studied more, however, about seances, NLP, hypnosis, mind reading, the occult, and all the other gubbins, a strange thing happened. I found that I had gone from being someone pretending to be a mind reader to actually being a mind reader.

I could reveal words people were thinking of that they had told no one, childhood memories, I could duplicate drawings they had done, and predict choices they were going to make. I became known in my local pub as ‘that weird guy who can read minds’. Which was an improvement on what they had called me before: ‘that weird guy.’

Melmoth would say that this only goes to prove the power of the dark and mysterious forces that surround us (the people of Nutfield and Merstham). I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of suggestion, framing, intuition, NLP, hypnotic language and some good, old-fashioned conjuring. Whichever of us is right, it has been a bizarre few months.

All of which will come to a head on Wednesday and Thursday. Why not come down and see what you think? It will definitely be a mind-f*cking, but I can also promise some mind-cuddles afterwards…

I’m a disaster at keeping this blog up to date. Partly, of course, because I don’t know what it is. Some days, it’s a place for blistering think-pieces on political hot-topics. Other days, it’s a receptacle for Bowler videos. And on other, shameful days, it’s a self-promotional wankbag.

This is one of those days.

If you didn’t come to The Bowler Debates last week (and you may have missed them because I never mentioned them on my own blog for fear of seeming too pushy), then all is not lost. A reviewer came, and made notes, and wrote those notes up afterwards into this lovely review. Thank you, Kat Pope.

The structure of this new show is simple but works perfectly… While it’s difficult to tell how much of the show is scripted and how much off the cuff, it doesn’t really matter as this is genuinely funny stuff… Tapley is always nicely in control of his character and material, but can’t quite hide a smile when he knows he’s nailed it, which is a good 80% of the time – not a bad comedy hit rate at all…  It’s a shocker, but then you’ll just have to go to see this marvellous hour of comedy to find out exactly what did happen between the two old chums.

Yeah. 80%. Boom!

Also, on Sunday The Revolution Will Be Televised – on which I wrote – won a BAFTA. No, I have no idea whether or not this means I can call myself a “BAFTA-winning writer” but, until I am absolutely and explicitly told not to, I intend to heavily imply it in all conversations.

So, that was my week. How was yours?


Hello, there. How are you? Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe some sort of cream would help…

I’ve got a present for you. It’s right here. See? You weren’t expecting that were you? Some friends and I made half-hour, full-cast audio horror-comedy shows just for you.

So that’s four presents for you. I’d also like to buy you a drink. We haven’t seen each other in ages. If only there was some way…

Hey! Here’s a thing! We’re performing live versions of those award-winning podcasts at the Leicester Square Theatre on Thursday (25th) at 21:00, and on Sunday (28th) at 20:30. We’re even doing a brand new episode, which has never been seen before by humans!

So, if you were to come along to that, I could get you that drink. Just hang around afterwards and work the work ‘ghoulies’ into conversation and I’ll get you one! Brill!

What’s that? You’re not sure you’ll enjoy it? Well, as someone with the good taste to have enjoyed my comedy in the past, I’m sure you’ll find it almost criminally hilarious.

After all, the West Sussex Gazette said: “IF YOU like your comedy as dark and bitter as the purest black chocolate then In The Gloaming will be just to your taste… Rich with black humour… Mr Tapley is an extraordinarily skilled actor and polished writer with a gimlet wit – but unlike many comedians there is nothing reassuringly safe about his material. Michael McIntyre he is not.” So you’re bound to like it. Unless you’re Michael McIntyre.

Impromptyou said: “Alarming , yet hilarious… I am pretty confident that Nat is a fan of The League of Gentlemen as there was a lot of material that would not be out of place in that series. It was a great show – just the right level of terrifying for a coward like myself.”

And in this month’s Starburst magazine, which only came out yesterday, they called it “Great – good horrific stories realised with superb writing, production values and performances.” And they also say our shows on Thursday & Sunday are “going to be really rather good.”

Not forgetting the fact that we, you know, WON AN AWARD. *cough* 2010 Parsec Award for Best New Podcaster. *cough*

And the fact that the podcasts have featured the vocal talents of Michael Greco (Eastenders), Lizzie Roper (Dead Boss), Darren Strange (Parents), Ruth Bratt (Mongrels), John Voce (pretty much everything, ever), Sally Chattaway, Zoe S Battley, Rachel Stubbings, John Hopkins, Emma Powell and MORE.

So you probably will like it.

And we won’t be preforming this again. And you’ll get to see the first (and only) live performance of the brand new episode, written specifically for 2012.

So please do pop along. and hang around afterwards for that drink…

See you soon!




The other day I went to see the delightful Rachel Stubbings in her show Stubbing Out Problems (3:00, Underbelly Daisy, Bristo Square). It was excellent. A real treat. And afterwards we made this:

If you happen to be up here, other things that are very worth your time (bearing in mind my character comedy predilections) are Marcel Lucont’s Gallic Symbol (22:25, Underbelly Cowgate), Anna Morris’ Dolly Mixtures (15:20, Voodoo Rooms French Quarter), Josie Long’s Romance & Adventure (18:00, PLeasance) and Battle Acts (00:30, Three Sisters, Maggie’s Chamber).

Go on, crunch it!

Crunch The News!

So. I’m just packing for Edinburgh.

But I thought you were going to be there the whole month. Weren’t you in some kind of show?

Well, yes. But that’s another story for another time. A time very distant in the future.

However, if any of you would like to see me while I’m up there, I’ll be one of the regular presenters of Crunch The News!

But what’s Crunch The News?

I’m intensely glad you asked. It’s a daily topical comedy show with all sorts of wonderful guests. Guests like Josie Long, Nick Doody, Joe Wells, Kate Smurthwaite, David Mills, Michael Legge, Hils Barker, all together with real life political people. And it’s hosted by people like me, Danielle Ward and John-Luke Roberts. It’s on at 12:20 at the Voodoo Rooms every day, and it will cost you exactly £0 to get in. It’s going to be amazong.

Yes, amazong.

I’ll also be around and about the place doing various other gigs from the 8th to the 23rd. So, why not pop along (to Edinburgh) and see me. That, too, will be amazong.

Here are some of the gigs you could come and see me at, if you’re feeling so inclined…

8th – Spank! (midnight at The Underbelly)

9th – Crunch The News!

10th – Crunch The News!

11th – Crunch The News!

16th – Crunch The News!

17th – Crunch The News!

18th – Crunch The News!

20th – Jim Smallman’s Group Therapy (13:00 Just The Tonic at The Tron)

22nd – The Super Serious Show! (20:55 Assembly Rooms)

There are more, but I’ll fill those in when I find my diary! See you all in Edinburgh!


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