Tuesday, 31 May 2011


So Richard Herring's AIOTM enters its third week. It was quite a dreary day, but still decided to walk into town. I'm getting quite used to it now and the health benefits must offset the AIOTM cider that I get through. A few days ago Richard was trying to work out how many rows there would be in a pyramid of 4,000,000 Ferrero Rochers (for his new show). After some hard maths, I decided to cheat and ran an Excel spreadsheet which I emailed to Rich. Unfortunately he couldn't open it, so I printed it out to bring with me tonight. It's fun being a voluntary comedy researcher!

Dan Tetsell
Anyway, after a brief drink at The Admiral Duncan (God, it's gone downhill since I worked there, and it wasn't exactly top of the range when I was there) I met Paul and Simon at the venue.

Rich came on and did some more new stuff for his new show. This time about a visit to the dry cleaners and the "We {heart} our customers" messages left on the cellophane over his suit, and questioning the nature of this, so called, love. He then went on to do his "Give me head till I'm dead" routine that he resurrected last week at The New Red Lion. He mentioned that I had seen it already and I made a lame joke about "Well, I'll go to the toilet then". It was funny inside my brain.

The show itself was quite something else. References to "minted cumpkins", Pippa Middleton's disembodied anus being eaten on "I'm A Celeb" complete with some unusual Geordie accents from Dan Tetsell playing both Ant and Dec, and talking of unusual accents, the Canadian ones that Emma and Dan chose for the story about the child (it's a boy) being raised by its (his) parents without telling anyone what its (his) sex was were fantastic (if indecipherable).

Richard Herring ( and Christian Reilly)
Emma had told a story about her visit to East Kilbride which I had seen on Twitter last week, and my only thought was that I had lived there. That was that. Today she revealed that she had visited 24 Inch Keith, and the double entendre was hard to miss. How had I also lived in Inch Keith for so long in my early teens without realising that it was fucking hilarious!? So, when Rich asked the ausdience what had occurred to them that week I couldn't resist telling Emma about this rather odd (and sexy) coincidence.

The moral maze tonight featured bin porn, but this time I really had to go to the toilet ! Christian's song this week was very self-reverential with the hook line "He just wants to be on the telly" and talking about the many issues that have been raised in AIOTM before about Rich's life.

After the show I gave Rich my fabulous spreadsheet, and it seems he is as in love with numbers and tables as much as I am. I don't know how much a voluntary comedy researcher gets paid, but hopefully I'll get the going rate.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Edinburgh previews begin!

Have I over-Herringed myself? This was my 4th gig in 8 days. Still, this was a triple bill with 2 other fantastic comedians: Catie Wilkins and Lou Sanders. I had just seen Catie a couple of weeks ago at the Hen & Chickens and was looking forward to seeing her again. Lou does an occasional podcast with Catie and I had seen her on the same bill as her back in September but unfortunately it was a spur of the moment decision after I had been out in the afternoon and I was stupidly drunk. I do remember really enjoying it though (and I'm quite sure I would have done sober!) On reflection I should have gone home.


"Is that the menu?" - @tfb62
The Edinburgh preview season in June and July is my favourite time of year. As a bit of a nerd, I really enjoy seeing comedians trying out new material, some of which may work, some of which may bomb, and seeing the show change until it is in a fit state to take up to the festival. I'm actually less interested in the final set than watching it all slowly come together over the course of a few gigs. Richard had given us a short preview of the new show "What Is Love Anyway" at AIOTM last night and from the little material there was looks like this who could develop nicely.

I had arranged to meet RichardSimon and Rob at The New Red Lion around 7:45 for the show to start at 8:00. Poor Rob had fallen asleep after a hard day of traffic reporting so we had to carry on without him.

Catie Wilkins
Catie performed for 40 minutes or so, slightly overrunning, but we can easily forgive her for that! Check my last blog for my blurb about her show in detail, but I still love the 'over bearing mother' joke. She ended the set by saying "Let's leave you with something fun" before checking her paper and saying "...errrm... no" which really tickled us! At the start of the set there was a rather annoying woman chatting at the bar which irritated me and probably most of the audience and certainly Catie. I don't know if she shut up or was asked to leave but either way it was sorted out eventually.

The dramatic Lou Sanders start
Lou Sanders was astonishingly good. It's only a matter of time surely till she is a household name (if there's any justice) She explained there wasn't much tech but to experience the opening of her Edinburgh show we should shut our eyes (as there was no way to plunge the venue into darkness) before galloping round the stage and having a huge party popper to open when the lights went up. The audience member she decided to speak to before the "Wheel of destiny" was Simon, who when he revealed he was a youth worker,  Lou took great points to let us all know that he wasn't a paedophile (even though she told us that she takes the piss out of comedians who do paedophile jokes!) Simon was also the star of her "This is your life" segment. This show is going to be great. It's unpredictable, slightly mental and absolutely hilarious!

Lou Sanders
Richard Herring was soon up to close the show. There wasn't mush new since the last time I had seen the preview of "What Is Love Anyway", but considering that was yesterday, it's not surprising. It looks like this show could be quite a different show from his recent ones, and the stories of his childhood loves brought a few "Awww"s from the audience. Due to his rather high work rate (touring his last show, "Christ On A Bike", writing a BBC script, AIOTM, and the Collings & Herrin podcast) there hasn't been a huge amount of progress on this yet, but the potential is there for a great show. The story of his first romance as a 10 year old and not being sure what to do, as well as the crush he had on an older girl from the safety of a bus is both lovely and funny and it will be very interesting to see how this show progresses.

Richard Herring
The new material was probably around 20 minutes or so, so he decided to do some old routines and started with his "I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire" routine. After this, he declared that he would try an older routine that he wasn't sure if he would remember. So this was the first time I had seen the "Give me head until I'm dead" routine (from 'Someone Likes Yoghurt'?) live, and was particularly good as he addressed a lot of it directly to my mate Richard, after asking him if he had ever experienced a blow job.

As I was leaving I said a brief goodbye to Catie & Richard (Lou had left a while ago) and said that it was good that he was putting different material into his "club" set. As I was walking home I thought this may have been misinterpreted and sent a message to Rich explaining what I meant. I was glad to find a reply on Twitter from Rich saying that it was what he thought I meant anyway. It's always good to end a gig with some slight awkwardness!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Richard Herring has thrown caution to the wind. Like last week, he wrote tonight's show on the Monday. Even this was too early, as the Ryan Giggs "scandal" became public between the writing and the performance. As he told us, next week he may have to start writing it at 5pm.

I got into Soho fairly early and went for a drink at The Admiral Duncan. I met up with Simon, Paul, and someone I had sold my 2 AIOTM series 1 scripts to for a £10 donation to SCOPE. So big up to Alan Hines. We took out seats for the first half where Richard mainly improvises and chats to the crowd.

"Are you in showbusiness?" said TV's Emma Kennedy to a rather sweet looking girl n the front row. "No? Well get your fucking drinks off the stage", followed by Herring somehow calling her a prostitute. I didn't quite follow the logic, but it wasn't quite as brutal as it sounded! Meg and her boyfriend (Beardo) arrived a little late and sat in the front row. Rich obviously talked to them and seemed amazed that a 23 year old could grow such a manly beard. He had a grade 2 and Rich asked me what length my newly shorn hair was. I didn't use any guard on mine. That's how manly I am. Rich tried to warn people off me. "Watch out girls", before correcting himself: "Boys.. look out". I was glad this correction had been made! He talked about the DVD record last week where I had been given a CD of the Warwick show where he had been heckled by a crazy Christian dude. I was going to give him this later but decided to pass him it there and then.

Rich gave us what little he had written for What Is Love Anyway which looks (even at this early stage) to be quite a different show to the last few.

Anyway, after the now traditional visit to the Burger King toilets, (no matter how many times Rich tells people about this little secret, it still is the best place to visit) the show began. Dan Tetsell was back, and although Ben Moor filled his shoes amply last week, it's nice to have the "proper" team in place. No poo stories from Ms Kennedy unfortunately, but to make up for it, Pippa Middleton's disembodied anus made a return appearance, as well as a guest appearance by Ryan Giggs, and a rather questionable Michael J Fox joke! Hey - there was even a call back to the Motorcycle clothing shop sketch, AND a rather dubious (possibly racist?) Barack Obama impression.

The moral maze was back, featuring Richard's borrowed cagoule. I would vote immoral to any of these, simply based on Richard's question. To ask the question implies that he has some doubts, and as people's morals come from within, then to me, this implies improper behaviour, otherwise the question would not be asked.

After the show I lost Alan. Turns out he had had a long day and had to go home. I spend some time chatting with the marvellous Rob Sedgebeer, Simon and Paul before flitting off and discussing Kindles, Twitter trolls, and the new show with Richard. Talking of the new show, I shall be at The New Red Lion theatre in Angel tomorrow night to see Richard, Catie Wilkins and Lou Sanders tomorrow night. Make sure you come down if you can.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Christ On A Bike (DVD) & The Collings & Herrin Podcast

It's a long Herring run for me with five more AIOTMs, and one 'What Is Love Anyway' kind of preview and on top of that I got tickets to see his next DVD being recorded at The Leicester Square Theatre (in my usual AIOTM seat of course - A14 in case you're interested).

I have never been to Edinburgh Festival, but I do love the period from around May to August when there are a lot of cheap and intimate preview gigs happening, and last year I caught quite a few previews of COAB before he took it to Edinburgh and I saw the finished show at the same theatre in January. As a bit of a comedy nerd I really enjoy seeing shows slowly come together, seeing a bit of improv that makes it into the final show, seeing bits that don't quite work. I even had the cheek to email Richard about a possible improvement he could have made. He did respond very politely, but pointed out the reasons why that particular part of the show was done the way it is and declined my brilliant idea. (After I hit 'send' on that email, I thought I might have made the biggest mistake of my life, but I think I got away with it.)

Anyway since I last saw it, the show has travelled round the country, with more additions and changes as time has gone on, so it will be nice to see the final finished version. What with the various protests, crazy emails (not my one!), threats and heckles that he has received I'm was really looking forward to this. Here is a clip of some people in Glasgow who were offended by a show they had never seen.

There were two shows tonight. First the DVD record of the show, followed by a live and filmed version of the Collings & Herrin podcast. C&H is one of the longest running independent podcasts around. There is usually one released every week, generally recorded in Richard's attic and put out unedited which leads to them being of varying quality. Some are close to genius, others border on tedium, but most of them are a very funny (and free!) way to pass an hour, which is quite handy if, like me, your journey to work takes an hour. Andrew Collins is a supersub DJ on 6 Music as well as the film editor for the Radio Times and a writer. Their styles complement each other well: Collings is the woolly liberal. He doesn't like cloning, or interfering with nature, and generally likes to be nice and sees the best in people. Herrin is the monster: ready to push Collings' buttons at the drop of a hat, say the unsayable, wind people up and get furious. I think Collings is pretty much identical to the real Andrew Collins, whereas Herrin is a very much exaggerated version of Herring himself, who just has to be as mean as possible.

Richard Herring - picture by Kip Hakes
So again, I decided to make the walk into town and had arranged to meet Jack  at De Hems for a beer before hand. I realised this was a mistake when I was 20 minutes into my walk and I started to smell like a damp dog as it had begun to rain. I came up with a genius idea and got on a bus. We had a quick beer and decided to head off around 715 or so. We got to the theatre just in time for the start of the show and took our seats and Andrew came out to introduce the show. The premise is that as an atheist, Richard still thinks about and talks about Jesus a lot which is underlined by a recording of his mother saying exactly the same thing. He ponders various ideas. How many Roman Catholic masses should you attend before you've eaten an entire Jesus, what happened to the gold, frankincense and myrrh, and why was the Star of Bethlehem not more widely reported, as the star would have to be ten feet off the ground to point to an entire building. He deconstructs the Ten Commandments for their literary clumsiness, if not their morals, well, apart from the condoning of slavery.

After this there was a bit of a mini-break for tapes to be changed, I took the opportunity to nip to the local burger chain for a wee (I do wish on AIOTM that Rich would stop telling people to go there to save on queues because all it does is move part of the queue to the burger restaurant.) I won't tell you which particular one it is. It's definitely not Burger King though.

In the break, Rich took some time to read through some odd emails he had received, and he got to one which was all about a drunk driver taking a girl with him which involved God being in the trunk and when the car inevitable crashes, only the trunk was intact. Anyway we never got to hear that as the printed out email had been lost, but I remembered it from Monday's AIOTM. Maybe he'll put a recording of that on instead? Andrew came out with the clapperboard to start the rest of the show, tripped over the microphone cable and asked what the strange thing was on the stage that had distracted him. Richard tried to shush him, as it was his pyro that he was gong to use in the next half that was going to be a surprise. I still jumped anyway!

The second half steps up a gear and explores the dream Richard had of the bicycle race that gives the show its name as well as the fantastic memory feat of the genealogy of Jesus.

The show ends on a high point with Richard realising that there are good sides to religion and that if he could live like his Christian father he would be a much better person. There are sections of this show that Christians could find offensive, but the overall message is one of positivity towards Jesus and Christians (well, some of them!) and it's quite a feel good conclusion.

After the show ended there was a 20 minute break till Collings & Herrin

The two boys - picture by Kip Hakes
They came on stage, and although Richard was tired, he looked relieved he could just relax and talk bollocks for a while Andrew had 3 pre-planned ideas in case they ran out of things to talk about and used them up in about 20 minutes. They took questions from the audience. I came up with an idea (actually, a very clever satire I had spent ages planning) which related the COAB protests to his new unseen (and unperformed and unwritten) show about Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw. Another question by Kip Hakes was about what the rudest thing was that anyone had said to them. They gave us a few ideas, but when he told us that his wife made him switch Secret Dancing off half way through, Andrew found his answer !

I don't want to go into too much detail as I don't want to spoil the surprise, and I also can't remember it all.

Afterwards I chatted with Rob and Catie, and was approached by a man asking if I was AndyMcH! It turns out he was MrPineappleBand - my C&H musical nemesis! (Collings stated in one podcast that I hated him, but I would like to point out that this was untrue in every way!)

I wanted to get a Secret Dancing DVD from Andrew and spotted his rather unmissable shirt at the opposite bar. I chatted to him for a while and was introduced to another musical nemesis, Rose, who did all the good jingles for the Collins & Herring 6Music show, as opposed to my under rehearsed, poorly recorded, half-arsed attempts. Richard was chatting and looked busy so it was nice of Andrew to save him the bother of writing "This Is Shit" on my DVD by writing it himself. He also gave me a variety of signatures on his books for varying reasons.

Just as we were beginning to have fun (not that the shows weren't fun, but you know what I mean) the bar closed. This was a very good thing. It stopped me getting drunk, and I can be extremely confident (hubristic even?) that I didn't make a tit of myself. Possibly the best result I could have hoped for.Roll on the DVD release and roll on next Monday's AIOTM ! <aiotm>

Here's another account of the night by Robin Blamires.

Note: Was given a CD containing the infamous "Falls Road" heckler from the show in Warwick a few nights before. Richard is happy with me putting it on youtube, and here it is:

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


So, here we are again. After my poor attendance at the last series of AIOTM, my rota for the next 6 weeks means that I can attend all the shows. The idea behind this is that Richard Herring writes the show on the Sunday, performs it to a paying audience on the Monday and releases it unedited for free on the internet on the Tuesday. I explain a little more about it in this blog here.

Ben Moor & Richard Herring
Tonight, Dan Tetsell couldn't make it as he has "real" work to do, so for one night only, Richard was joined by Ben Moor as well as the other 2 regulars, Emma Kennedy and Christian Reilly.

Around 2pm it was reported that the police had received a coded IRA bomb threat. We knew that one day we would have to sacrifice ourselves for AIOTM , and it looked like that day had finally come..

Rich does a mainly improvised stand up set before the main show and asks the usual question of what people do for a living. Michael was sitting front centre and told him he did woodwork and metal work which was unusual for a geeky Herring crowd. But when he told us he had made a model of Terry Pratchett's Discworld we all breathed a sigh of relief and realised he was one of us. (I have never read Discworld or any other Terry Pratchett books). I particularly enjoyed a lady to my left bellowing "HIGH BACKED ARMCHAIR", scaring Rich after a few other requests for catchphrases from a very enthusiastic man in the crowd.

After the break, AIOTM <aiotm> started and I won't give away too much (and to be honest, by the time this blog goes up, you can download the full show.) But let's just say Rich tells us who the actor is who loves dildos up his arse but has taken out a superinjunction, and as well as that, the star of the show, and hopefully for many others to come, was Pippa Middleton's disembodied anus. Another mention has to go to the Lembit Opik / Lady Gaga inspired song "Wonky Face". (See Lee Isserow's video at the end of this blog which he managed to create in under a week!)

Great to have a (hopefully) new running gag. No Tiny Andrew Collings, no cumpkins, no Tam Dalyell.. tonight seemed like a fresh start, and all the better for it. Though I would love Tiny AC to return. But he won't.

Due to the guest appearance by Ben Moor they recreated the 23 year old sketch that Ceith Allen had famously interrupted at the Oxford Revue by taking away Ben's crash mats as he had to jump to his death, before walking out and punching the manager. It was nice to be part of history, but to be honest, some things are better in the imagination!

One show down, 5 to go!

By the way, thanks to Alex for the picture! By the way. We weren't blown up. Not even close. So Real IRA, or whoever you are.. (Stewart Lee for all I know) - you didn't win. If you really want to publicise your case (and coincedentally AIOTM) bring it on next week.. if you dare!

Oooh - here is the Discworld model ! It's much better than I expected.

Christian Reilly - Wonky Face from Doctor Captain Lee Isserow on Vimeo.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Catie Wilkins - Chip Off The Odd Block

I had seen Catie perform an early version of this show last year when it was called "Inheritance Tax". I mentioned to her shortly after that the one and only criticism was the title, as, if I didn't know who she was, the title wouldn't make me pay for a ticket. Anyway, after a lot of tweeting and suggestions from her followers, she has the much improved title of "Chip Off The Odd Block". The show is about her fears that she may be turning into her parents, and relies a lot on anecdotes and stories about them. Her father being logical, cold and robotic and her mother being rather hot-headed. I feel both guilty and proud that my suggestion made her change the title, as this one is better by far.

So, on Friday I had arranged to meet Rob and Simon at The Hen & Chickens (a great little theatre space in Highbury) and we had a beer before we were summoned upstairs. It was quite a "selective" audience and we took our seats at the far end of the front row.

On stage, Catie is very likeable. She has a vulnerable, shy side which you instantly warm to, and she is an intriguing mix of prettiness and geekiness. This was a preview so she referred to notes in the places that she wasn't too sure about that were rather new, reading a story she had written as a child and telling us about her parents and her fears that she may become them.

The reading of her father's Christmas circular is fantastic, as is her mother's catchphrase ("How dare you come here and say that"). One of the new lines in the show that I hadn't heard before was the story of when her brother came out as gay. "His psychologist said it may be because our mother was overbearing. We didn't tell her. She was overbearing"

The show ended and unlike most acts who would leave the stage and go backstage, Catie got her notes together and started packing up, leaving the audience unsure of what to do next. An awkward moment as we all filed out past her.

Also attending the show was Suzi Ruffell who is a very funny comedian in her own right and was seeing a full hour long show by Catie for the first time.

By the time Edinburgh comes, the rough edges will be off, and if you are going to the Fringe, this is one show you should definitely make time for!

On the way home I saw what I thought might by a "Banksy". Looking at it closer I realise it's not, but great to see this art work of Frank Sidebottom in Islington. (It's on the corner of Cross Street and Essex Road in case you're interested)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Stewart Lee tackles social networking

Stewart Lee is not known for his social networking. In fact, he's quite the Luddite. However, here he is discussing web strategies with BBC marketing.

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Comedy Crawl - Day 2

Danielle Ward
I shook off my hangover around 2ish and headed back to Camden. My basic plan was to stick around Belushi's and head to Improv in the evening. At Belushi's I caught the last half of Tim Fitzhigham. I had never seen him before but he was delighting the crowd with his tales of naval exploits and zebra crossings.
Thom Tuck

I found Neal, Nicola and Rob at the front for the next act and managed to get a seat on the comfy sofa just before Sarah Kendall came on. She's an Australian comic. She has an amazing head of red hair which led her to tell us about the fact that English people are either repulsed by it, or turns into a weird fetish. She also told us of her worst heckle when an audience member said he was going to basically sexually assault her. It was slightly uncomfortable to listen to but she managed to make it funny. Her idea for a hip hop video with loads of hot gay guys gangbanging was hilarious too especially when she said that she hadn't written the song yet but she expected it would be about how great she is.

Thom Tuck was on next. I won't go into details as you can read about his show here. He was soon followed by Danielle Ward who was fantastically filthy. Her voice sounds like a mixture of innocence and sarcasm, and when telling us a story about her first sexual experience wanking a man into a bin, she heard a child in the audience and got visibly worried. When told the child was only 3 and wouldn't understand a huge cheer erupted from the crowd. It turned out later that the child was Shappi Khorsandi's!

I decided to follow the other 3 to The Camden Head. I got a pint and went towards the stairs only to be told it was full. Typical. I was now in a noisy pub i didn't really like with a pint I didn't really want. Anyway I decided best course of action was to down it as quickly as I could and head back to Belushi's.

Shappi Khorsandi
I got there just in time to catch the end of a set by an Australian comic who was a bit shouty and aggressive for my liking, but Shappi followed next. I had only seen her live once before which was at All day Edinburgh which was rather shambolic, but today she was on top form. She heard a girl in the audience laugh and pointed out it was the cutest laugh she had ever heard. She invited her up on stage to have a chat and the girl told her that her mum was a huge fan of hers. Is that a good thing to hear? I'm not sure! Later when asked what she did for a living she said that she didn't want to say "in case I have to help someone who is unwell". Obviously she was a doctor and Shappi questioned the sincerity of the Hippocratic oath that she took. She brought her little boy on to stage at the end of her show which was a rather cute moment, though Shappi told us that it was so nice it was even making herself sick.

John, Michael & Brendan
After a quick refuel at Costa Coffee we headed to Theatro Technis to catch The London Comedy Improv. They perform at the Phoenix on the last Wednesday of every month and are well worth a visit. Like all improv shows they rely on suggestions from the audience to base their sketches around, so I started thinking. Tonight the cast was Brendan Dempsey, Tara Flynn, Michael Legge, Kirsty Newton, Rufus Hound, John Voce and Tiernan Douieb.

Among the sketches we got were a day in the life of Jacob (one of the audience members) who had told us what he did, his aspirations and where he worked, as well as John doing a song about dinosaurs in a Nigerian accent which not many would be brave enough to do. Michael's face during this was a picture.

Michael, Tara, Rufus & Kirsty
John, Michael, Kirsty, Tiernan, Brendan & Tara
We stayed for the 2nd show and when it started there were only 8 in the audience. Luckily as the show went on more people joined us. My suggestion of "Ridicule is nothing to be scared of" brought on a good sketch, though it ended with Michael telling us he hated Adam Ant.

The sketch that brought the house down involved John being shouted at for around 5 minutes by Michael, as Michael "apologised" for all the awful things he had done to him, ending with a line about cum. A few people left at this point, and Tara asked them "Was it the cum?" However I don't think it was a genuine walkout. I think they were just moving on to another venue, but for the purposes of this blog lets say they stormed out disgusted (They didn't)

After the show, myself, Nicola and Neal went for a beer in a local pub (with no music or comedy) with Tara, Michael, John and Carl (aka Mr Flynn) and it was a lovely way to round off the evening. I headed home stopping by Belushi's to try and catch some of Rich Hall but it was so busy I was stuck behind a pillar and couldn't see a thing, and made the correct decision to wander back to Camden Town tube.

Top Acts: All of London Comedy Improv, Shappi Khorsandi, Sarah Kendall, Danielle Ward and Thom Tuck.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Comedy Crawl - Day 1

The Comedy Crawl is an offshoot of the Camden Crawl, and it's spread over two evenings, with over 100 acts booked. I had been looking forward to this for some time. Let's get the disappointment out of the way first though:

There was no schedule released until the day of the gigs. This schedule seemed rather ambitious to say the least. I know that last minute changes get made and some people cancel, and others may be added, but all it takes is a little update to the website so we can access the most up to date information. I know the thrill of an event like this is that you can stumble across new talent for the first time, but I would also like the option of knowing when and where a particular act will be performing.

We queued up to get our wristbands at 5pm, and we went to the Black Cap for a bite to eat and a couple of acts before the shows started at 7pm. However unbeknown to us, the comedy actually started at 2pm, and we had no access to it. It's pretty poor considering we had paid £35 for a weekend ticket and were not being allowed to see 25% of the acts. After a few moans about this via Twitter, the organisers graciously have allowed us in for the Sunday afternoon.

That's most of the moaning over, and none of it is directed at the acts or the individual promoters, as they all seemed to do a sterling job under varying conditions

At The Black Cap, Neal and I started preparing our plan. Some of the acts we agreed we wanted to see and some we would go our separate ways. The first act was up at The Canalside Bar, and it was Adam Bloom. He's someone I've never seen before but Neal spoke highly of. We got there before 7 and got a good seat. I decided to go to the loo and to my horror they had a toilet attendant. Does anyone ever think that's a good idea? I went to the cubicle (as I usually do) and had a wee. I also thought I'd blow my nose but there was no loo roll. Luckily this wasn't a huge disaster for me, but it could be for the next occupant. The man squirted a tiny bit of soap on me, I washed my hands and he gave me a tiny bit of blue roll which instantly became soaked. I had to ask for another bit. And one more. And another to blow my nose on. I told the man there was no loo roll, and he held out the blue roll, saying "I have it". That's top service having every sheet of loo roll (and itchy blue stuff at that) delivered over the top of the cubicle door. I'm really hoping this was just a misunderstanding, but I doubt it, considering it was still empty when I went back  at 1030.

Time moved on and by 730 I grew weary of no acts on stage and decided to show my loyalty to Fat Tuesday by visiting Belushi's. i just managed to catch the awkward and funny ending of Dan Antopolski. Tom Craine was up next, but probably not my cup of tea who was soon followed by a rather camp boy with a big hat and long socks. I think he was Joey Page. He had a few microphone problems but did most of the gig off mic, which was fine from where I was sitting, but probably not so good for the people at the back.

I decided to visit the Wheelbarrow as that was where Nicola and Rob were. The venue was very busy, and it was rather long and narrow. I only stayed a couple of minutes, as all I could hear was terrible Turkish style singing. I went back to Fat Tuesday and caught the next comedian. Again, not my cup of tea. He was a bit shouty and making poor cock jokes, with a slight undercurrent of ironic racism, which to some ears may not have seemed ironic at all. It turns out this was Adam Bloom, so was pretty glad I missed the show at The Canalside Bar. Chris Cox was on next; a comedy mindreader who could be good if he either did less comedy or less magic. For a comedian who does magic I'd stick to Pete Firman, and for a funny magician, Derren Brown.

So far I hadn't seen anyone who had really made me laugh (Tiernan excepted, whose MCing was its usual high standard. It  must be a hard job keeping up the energy for such a long time, especially with people leaving and arriving after (and during) each act.

Joel Dommett
I went to "Ready To Eat" (RTE) to catch Joel Dommett and saw the end of Amadeus Martin. not a name I knew, but definitely someone I would see again. Full of charisma and a very funny guy. I just wish I had seen more of him. Again, people were wrriving and leaving and the compere asked me if I was leaving too. I told him it depended who the next act was. By this time I realised the schedules were not close to accurate so I had no idea who to expect. he introduced another comedy magician to the stage and I headed out for a cigarette. I was speaking to the MC (damn - can't remember his name but he was very very good) and explained I was looking for Joel Dommett. He told me he was on next and lo and behold he turned up to the venue.

Canalside Bar, hoping to see Sean Hughes and Abandoman.

This venue by now was so busy. I quickly located Neal and Nicola and stood beside them. Tiff Stevenson was on and from what I could hear of her she was excellent. Unfortunately there was so much babbling from people all around me, and especially from the people further back who clearly weren't here for the comedy: I guess they just allowed people with Camden Crawl (the music festival that was happening alongside it) tickets in to the venue. This is never a great idea for comedy. Top marks for Tiff for getting through this rather tough gig.

Neal and Nicola decided to move on by this point and I thought I'd stick around to see who was on next. It was Luke Benson, but I had seen him a number of times before at The Fortnight Club, and as it was busy and hot I decided to nip out for a cigarette. I got chatting to the promoter of the venue and she couldn't believe we were not allowed into the comedy events during the day. I spent some time chatting with her, and she was lovely. I just wish I could remember her name. Matt Kirshen came on next. I had a brief chat with him before and he seemed a little unhappy by the talkative crowd. I didn't see him, but I imagine he was no less than excellent, as I've never seen him be anything other than that.

Me and Brendon Burns
I suddenly heard about 100 people with one voice shout "Shut the fuck up" and it seemed the compere Brendon Burns had decided to deal with this lot once and for all. He came back outside and I spoke to him briefly. I asked him for a picture for this blog and he said it was fine and seemed surprised that I didn't want to be in it myself. It was embarrassing, so now you know why I have a picture of me in it. Please forgive me.

Abandoman closed the show. I have seen them once before and they were stunning. Again, tonight was more of the same. A fantastic Irish improvised hip-hop act that you have to see.

I joined Rob, Nicola and Neal back at Belushi's for a farewell drink before we do this all again on Sunday.

In summary:
  • Poor organisation
  • Great promoters
  • Top acts: Amadeus Martin, Joel Dommett, Tiff Stevenson, and Abandoman