Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Big Noise and Big Fun*

I wasn't remotely surprised when Jason sat down beside me and jumped up uncomfortably before removing a chicken and a duck from his back pocket before placing them triumphantly on the table.

Anyway it was nice of Tara Flynn to practise her show in Edinburgh for a month before the big event back at The Phoenix. As usual it was also great to see some old Twitter types such as Neal, Rob, Vicky and Jason

Now, I know Tara mainly through the London Comedy Improv. You may know her through that too. Or perhaps you've seen her on Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle or the Paul Merton series, "Thank God You're here". Or indeed the lady in "Doctors" a few months ago. (I missed this performance sadly). Or indeed as we were reminded later, "The woman from the Utterly Butterly advert.

Opening tonight was London Comedy Improv's tallest and Irishest member Brendan Dempsey. I had been unaware all this time that Brendan still did stand up (I was obviously ill-informed by Neal earlier) and thought he mainly did comedy acting and the improv, but I'm so glad he does. Brendan has a very gentle calming voice and I lazily compared him to Tara afterwards to Ardal O'Hanlon before she pulled a funny face and told me that it's probably because he's Irish. Anyway the point is (and I'll come back to this later) sometimes the support acts take you by surprise and you can find a whole new realm of comedy to follow.

Tara's show (Big Noise) is a collection of comedy songs with no particular narrative. No message. No story. Now I have always been suspicious of musical comedy. Sorry, but I just don't get the whole "Beat me on the bottom with a Woman's Weekly" stuff.

She opened with a tribute to the "Quirky Ones" (Lily Allen et al) followed by a number of other songs about topics as diverse as Weetabix (with the inexplicable dry bit in the middle) as well as a fantastic 80s Hazel O'Connor style track involving science and nuclear war.

The closing song was an epic German/Irish electronic track about a "custard bastard" (she's the custard whore.) This is a phrase I shall attempt to use in conversation a lot more than I used to. Tara also gave me a new religion which I have added to my Facebook page (non-practising Buddhist) which has somehow tickled me and sounds better than the rather po-faced "atheist".  This is a show I really hope Tara can develop, perhaps eventually involving a live band.

You can see a clip of Tara, Brendan and others singing an improvised song (at London Comedy Improv obviously) here

I also went to see Catie Wilkins for the second time in a week. Now this was a spur of the moment decision and I had been "out" most of the afternoon so my memory isn't all that good ! So forgive me if this ends up rather short.

Opening was Lou Sanders.  I always get nervous seeing comedians I've known about and followed on Twitter etc for the first time. I always really want to like them, and it often isn't the case. But Lou was hilarious ! (Thus linking back to the support act thing I mentioned earlier.) Also a very humble lady. After mentioning to Lou on twitter that I had enjoyed her set, she replied:

"@AndyMcH ahhh thank you! It's true, I am cocking awesome. X"

It's good to have that confidence ! I will be seeing her again. (not like that!)

Catie is a relative newcomer to comedy and "Inheritance Tax" was her first hour long show. I remember seeing her do a short set around a year ago opening for Richard Herring at Fat Tuesday and howling when she told her AIDS joke. She was advised not to perform this routine in Brighton as gay people may be offended, but that's utter rubbish.

Catie seems a little nervous on stage, but this doesn't detract from how funny she is. If anything it makes her more endearing. She explains that the show isn't about inheritance tax or fiscal affairs but about comparing herself to her parents to see if she is turning into them. I would probably have chosen a different title, as if I didn't know who she was I may not have gone to see a show with that title, but that's neither here nor there.

Highlights include her dad's Christmas circulars to her whole extended family where her mother has been very ill but he has gone off to the skiing holiday by himself anyway and explaining mum's illness in all its gory detail whilst explaining how much he enjoyed his holiday, as well as her mum's fantastic catchphrase - "How dare you come here and say that" - another phrase I will attempt to use more often.

Conscious of how drunk I was, I made my goodbyes as brief as possible as I otherwise would have turned into an annoying pest (again) and headed back to Camden Town and finally home.

Tara Flynn, Brendan Dempsey, Catie Wilkins, and Lou Sanders - see them when you get a chance !!

* Yes I know this is mainly a blog about Tara and Catie and I know that Catie is kown as "Show Pony" in her podcast she does with Lou "Big Fun" Sanders, but "Big Noise & Show Pony" would have been a weird title. Confusing at best. If you have a problem with this, please feel free to leave a comment, or email me. Send me a message on Twitter if you like. But don't just moan about it. It's only a title. What's your problem? To be honest I find your attitude rather poor. Insulting even. I don't need to do this. I could have just called it "Catie Wilkins & Tara Flynn", but that's just two people's names, and would it have drawn you in as much as "Big Noise & Big Fun"? Now I wish I hadn't criticised the title of Catie's show. I know how it feels now. Catie, I'm sorry. But these people just... AARGH. God they wind me up. I shouldn't let it get to me, but you should see what people are sending me. Then you'd understand. In fact don't even mention it to me any more. Not interested. Now seeing as Ewen MacIntosh has put his personal number up on Twitter send a text to him instead. I'm just don't care about your opinions. What????

How dare you come here and say that you custard bastard.

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