Tonight I was back at The Lescar for The Little Last Laugh. Numbers weren’t quite up to the level of last week, where emergency seating had to be brought out, but for August they were pretty good. It was nice to see Tom King there supporting live comedy on a night when he wasn’t gigging.
Dave Longley (MC)
Our compere was Dave Longley and this was the first time I’d seen him perform. I hope I see more of him. He’s a big lad is Dave, but his personality is even bigger and it filled the stage. This wasn’t a case of him making a point about being the alpha male present, this was a far more subtle and nuanced performance. He was almost gentle in how he spoke to people, but it was still very obvious who was the authority in the room. The audience largely seemed to be made up of firefighters (past and present), coppers, engineers and medical types, plus a car salesman, whom much to Longley’s disgust, didn’t have a favourite car. His expression of disbelief was very well acted out, but this was easily topped by his reaction to a chap from Matlock calling his home town of Ilkeston ‘rough’. Longley’s facial expressions were all very well done. Retired firefighter, Des, provided him with a lot of laughs, but he got the balance right in talking to him, but not letting him dominate proceedings. Longley was very fast with his responses and he had a lovely habit of whirling round and pointing to whoever he was speaking to and this didn’t half serve to focus everyone’s attention. The only thing I wasn’t that keen on was him saying that he was there to ‘talk shit’ as I think that that devalued the great work that he was doing. This was great compering and a heck of a lot of fun to watch – there was a lot of laughter.
The last time I’d seen Hayward had been at a rare good night at Jongleurs and she’d done very well then as compere. Tonight she started well and carried on the good work all the way through. The writing in this set was very tight with no wasted words. The material was also very well thought out and there were any number of great lines present. Charity shops was solid at the top, proposals and airbnb were wonderful and the closing routine about minor ailments was champion. This was a set where the jokes came almost at the rate of a one-liner comedian and the laughs came thick and fast.
Campbell had a great night, despite a little bit of a slow start. After the first 30 seconds he moved into a much higher gear and built up a lot of momentum. The room took to him in a big way. Posh names was very good, as was village life. I thought he came very close to an applause break for palms at that point. His partner’s name tickled a lot of people, as did kisses at the end of texts. The yoga routine was strong. It perhaps wouldn’t do him any harm to just slow his delivery down a touch, but this is a minor quibble. This was a strong performance from someone who is making progress.
Davis was instantly funny the moment she took to the stage. The mix of a surprisingly forceful delivery and powerful autobiographical material was a big hit. The room reflected her energy very nicely. Gigs in distant places and travelling were all great routines. Following this Davis asked if she could try some new material, to which the room enthusiastically agreed. This was, as you’d expect, more of a mixed bag. VR was good, shopping better, haunted if it were tighter would be good and the turtle was very good. Davis then switched back to established material and ended the night on a superb callback.