Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Comedy Gold

The Old Queen's Head is a pub even closer to where I live than The New Red Lion Theatre. As a lazy comedy fan, it's probably the handiest venue to go to. I've been there once before when it was so packed I had to sit on the floor right at the front of the stage, craning my neck upwards to see the acts. My neck could barely see their chests, never mind their faces, so I spent most of the time looking at comedians' crotches. This was even more noticable when 9'2" comedian Steven Merchant turned up!

This time was different. the lovely Annelie had booked us a table (quite handily near the bar) where I was joined by the lovely Richard and Rob. Richard had completely forgotten about this gig even though I had told him yesterday about it, and did finally manage to turn up (even though the cash in his pocket amounted to a pound less than the entrance fee) and was allowed in to sponge the extra quid from Rob.

We did hear beforehand that Mark Steel couldn't make it as he was stuck in snow in Kent. This was a shame (especially for Mark) as he was the only comedian on the bill I hadn't experienced before, and I was very keen to see him , and I did plan to have a picture of himself and Herring together for this blog and refer to him as Andrew Collins throughout just to see if anyone would notice.

Carl Donnelly is a comedian I have seen before at Fat Tuesday, and more recently on Mock The Week and he was our compere for the night. His free flowing style suited this role and was happily engaging charmfully with the audience, which ended up with Aussie Top Trumps where he picked random categories to compare the 2 Aussies in the audience to find out which was best.

Eric Lampaert was the first act to perform. I had seen him before (with Rob) at a warm up for Richard Herring's "Christ On A Bike" show before Edinburgh, alongside Joel Dommett (who ended up naked... anyway that's beside the point...) and he had a real Eddie Izzard feel to him. Semi-improvised, and able to take ideas and run with them, pointing out his Edinburgh reviews comparing him to a shark and had the audience on side after a while. Well worth seeing. He did wonder later on Twitter if ending with new material was really a good idea!

However both Eric and Carl's sets were spoiled for me by the table at the back. Although the comedians' couldn't hear them, they were quite happily chatting amongst themselves. I glared a few times, and eventually as this continued into Eric's set had to ask them to keep the conversation down. I had assumed in my head that this would end up with a big unseemly argument, but they seemed to take it on board and I didn't notice them again. Hurrah!

(Oh Christ, I'm going to Highlight (ex-Jongleurs) on Friday. I just remembered. Although Carl did tell me in one of the intervals that they can be good nights. I'm still slightly concerned.

We then found out via Twitter (of course) that Richard Herring had been having travelling problems. Flat battery. I began to wonder if this gig was doomed. Thankfully he jumped in a cab and I didn't have to do his set as he suggested. Unfiortunately he will not be able to eat tonight. The taxi driver's family will do just fine however.

Sara Pascoe was on next. I saw her at All Day Edinburgh and although I enjoyed her set, there was something that didn't grab me. Don't get me wrong, she was good, but there were quite a few better acts on the bill. However tonight she nailed it. Absolutely storming set and I will 100% see her again.The mixture of strength and insecurity she showed was spot on and she won the crowd over easily.

Then Rob had to leave to go to work. I bullied him into apologising to Herring for walking out before he had even started his set. Just for my own amusement really! Sorry Rob.

The evening ended with Herring, and I'm not going to go into the details of the show here. I've done that enough in the past. However the place was loving him, and the regular routine, but now incorporating elements from Hitler Moustache and Christ On A Bike went down extremely well. The laughs were coming so often I couldn't hear the table at the back at all! He threw in an improvised section when a punter arrived upstairs with two pints in his hand who seemed about to step across the stage to go to a table,  speculating that he may be a new comic and debating what his catchphrase may be. Herring has a solid routine, but as he has said himself, it may be time now to write new material for it. Some of it has to stay, such as the "sky potato", "seven year old girl hands", and "signs for homosexuality at school" routines, but some could be trimmed a little. Perhaps use less of the childhood stories. However this doesn't mean dropping the "Men Of Phise" classic!

Incidentally, while Richard has been (jokingly) asking to be credited for sections of Andrew Collins' "Secret Dancing", maybe he should give credit to Andrew for writing the "Icarus Myth" line? In fact Andrew should insist on it!

Anyway, all in all, a fun fun night. 4 great acts. No filler. Comedy Gold is a great night. This along with Fat Tuesday, The Fortnight Club and Sunday Comedy at The New Red Lion Theatre makes me glad to be an Islingtonian.

(Still thinking about the Frankie Boyle travesty from last night. Should I end this blog on a rape joke?)

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