Dave Brown: Noel Fielding

Work / Photography

Dave Brown’s Tough Crowd shows a darker side of comedians out of the spotlight

For my money there’s few things quite as gut-wrenching as the idea of the sad clown – a trope which has fascinated creatives from rococo painter Antoine Watteau (whose picture of Pierrot remains one of the most tragic scenes in art) right up to David Brent in The Office forced to lark around in a giant bird costume shortly after being fired. It is though something of a cliche and so any new takes on it need to steer clear of heavy-handed sentimentality, which Dave Brown navigates skillfully in his new project Tough Crowd.

The designer and photographer is no stranger to the comedy world, as he plays Bollo the gorilla in The Mighty Boosh and indeed both his co-stars Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt make an appearance. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with a really arresting series featuring both stand-ups and comedy actors, which at their best hint at some of the reasons people feel the need to pursue this apparently perverse career path. You can still go and check them out for a couple more days at London’s Strand Gallery or better still why not buy a print as all the proceeds go to the AfriKids charity.


Dave Brown: Adam Buxton


Dave Brown: Dolly Wells


Dave Brown: Kevin Eldon


Dave Brown: Bill Bailey


Dave Brown: David O Doherty


Dave Brown: Richard Ayoade


Dave Brown: Tim Key


Dave Brown: Lenny Henry