Comedy’s serious face

Dave Brown is probably best known for playing Bollo the gorilla in The Mighty Boosh, but he is also a graphic designer and photographer. His new exhibition of portraits of 50 well known comedians opens today at London’s Strand Gallery…

Dave Brown is probably best known for playing Bollo the gorilla in The Mighty Boosh, but he is also a graphic designer and photographer. His new exhibition of portraits of 50 well known comedians opens today at London’s Strand Gallery

Entitled Tough Crowd, the exhibition features the likes of Adam Buxton (above), Bill Bailey (top), Julian Barratt, Lee Mack, and Harry Hill, (to name but a few) looking thoughtful, angry, confused, upset, disengaged – anything, in fact, other than amused. The idea is that the images highlight the tenacity required by comedians to ply their trade when they might be heckled by a drunk, dropped by an agent, or find themselves delivering punchlines to an unresponsive crowd.

“I want to capture a glimpse of these thick skinned, seriously tough, complex, moody characters,” says Brown of the project, “and try to show them in a different light to the happy-go-lucky image we’re used to”.

Above, Andi Osho looks concerned

Behind the comedy specs, Bob Mortimer looks like he’s in shock

David O’Doherty looks totally pissed off

Phill Jupitus looks like he’s been having a bit of a cry

And Tim Key looks like there’s something far more worthy of his attention outside a window

All of the images are available to buy in signed editions of 100 as C Type prints on Fuji Crystal Archive paper at two different sizes, A2 (£75) and A3 (£50) with all profits from sales going to Afrikids, a charity for which Brown is an abassador. First edition prints (which are on display at the gallery) will be made available to the highest bidder for each one (contact for more details).

Find the prints for sale online at

Tough Crowd by Dave Brown runs until December 15 at The Strand Gallery, 32 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6BP.

See more of Brown’s work at


CR In print

In our December issue we look at why carpets are the latest medium of choice for designers and illustrators. Plus, Does it matter if design projects are presented using fake images created using LiveSurface and the like? Mark Sinclair looks in to the issue of mocking-up. We have an extract from Craig Ward’s upcoming book Popular Lies About Graphic Design and ask why advertising has been so poor at preserving its past. Illustrators’ agents share their tips for getting seen and we interview maverick director Tony Kaye by means of his unique way with email. In Crit, Guardian economics leader writer Aditya Chakrabortty review’s Kalle Lasn’s Meme Wars and Gordon Comstock pities brands’ long-suffering social media managers. In a new column on art direction, Paul Belford deconstructs a Levi’s ad that was so wrong it was very right, plus, in his brand identity column, Michael Evamy looks at the work of Barcelona-based Mario Eskenazi. And Daniel Benneworth-Gray tackles every freelancer’s dilemma – getting work.

Our Monograph this month, for subscribers only, features the EnsaïmadART project in which Astrid Stavro and Pablo Martin invited designers from around the world to create stickers to go on the packaging of special edition packaging for Majorca’s distinctive pastry, the ensaïmada, with all profits going to a charity on the island (full story here)

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