Toju, Jollyboat, Tony Simpson and John Lebbon

FAF Comedy night at the Staindrop in Sheffield. This was a near sell out in a small room with a friendly crowd. Joe Bromhead was MC, which was good, as I’ve heard a lot about him and all positive. I wasn’t disappointed, either. It may be a local gig that he’s compered before, but he had the level of the room from the moment he walked on stage. He set the mood through not making too much of a meal of the who are you and what do you do stuff, but more through how he talked to people, he pitched his warming up at the perfect pitch. He was helped by Stoney on electrics and lights, who through manipulating the lighting system with the music got some energy into the room. The first act was Jolly Boat, who are a good opener. Their Pirate songs are good strong material. Their patter between songs wasn’t as well developed at it could have been, but that isn’t too much of a problem. Their computer love song was a bit of a slow burner, but towards the end was getting good laughs, although not everyone in the room was able to see the visual props due to them being shown to left of stage. I also enjoyed their X Factor parody, but did feel it was a minute too long. Tony Simpson performed an enjoyable set, which was also delivered to the left of stage, with right of stage left out somewhat. His material was workmanlike and whilst it didn’t set the room on fire, it did get consistent laughs and left people more chipper than they were before he went on stage. He did a good show. John Lebbon didn’t have a great night. He was by no means bad, but didn’t seem to get into a rhythm. I think this is because online dating and facebook have been tackled too often by comedians and even people at watercoolers to be fresh. However, his strongest material was about his parents being on facebook, so perhaps if he kept this part of it and rethought the rest and tackled something less well trodden he may do better. The closer was Toju, who has been on Britain’s got Talent and is well known as the militant black guy off of Balls of Steel. He started off as if he were at a rock concert with a lot of ‘yeahs’, which whilst it wasn’t really comedy did set a good atmosphere. He covered a lot of ground, not lingering on any subject too long, with some good mimicry – this was decent material and was getting laughs. However, he then concentrated on working the front row of the audience, which transformed it into a private gig for them, leaving the majority of the room feeling like onlookers at a private party. This didn’t totally lose him the room, he has too much of a stage presence for that, but it did a lot to dampen his work.

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