Tonight was an Edinburgh Preview double header – Paul Sinha and Paul Kerensa. These are where two comics try out their Edinburgh Festival shows prior to the festival commencing. They get to rehearse, the public get to see top comedians without having to travel too far. This was held at Bar 1 as part of the Derby Comedy Festival, under Spiky Mike of Funhouse Comedy Clubs- East Midlands. Bar 1 was packed out for tonight, a total sell out, which is lovely to see. There weren’t many people under the age of 30 and I suspect a lot were there to see a chap off the telly, rather than a pair of good comedians. The night started at 20.05, which was a real shame, because if it had been advertised for 20.15, then about 80 people would have been saved the trouble of getting a car park ticket. Compere was Spiky Mike.
Opening was Paul Kerensa, who had the tricky job of being the man the audience hadn’t paid to see. His show was Back to the Futon, pt2, all about Back to the Future part 2 and other things, which tied in nicely with 2015 being the future in that picture. He appeared on stage wearing a body-warmer, in-fitting with his theme. He did a spot of warming up before launching into the show. He has some lovely material about being pulled over in a Delorean, a great fin joke for Jaws and some puns that are so groaningly awful they become brilliant. However, it was his song that explained the original Back to the Future for those without a telly in the crowd. This song was truly splendiferous and whilst it got a round of applause, really a standing ovation would not have been out of place. Towards the end this show did falter a touch as the self heckling part was a tad laboured and over-ambitious, but this was only added yesterday and so should not be judged harshly at all. This show is very enjoyable and delivered with an energy and enthusiasm that brought a smile to the room.
Next on was Paul Sinha, who although he is best known for being a Chaser, is an accomplished comedian and has done some delightful shows on the wireless. His set reminded me of Geoff Norcott’s two weeks ago. Not in content, but in the challenge of delivering comedy to a room where people are constantly getting up to get a drink or nip to the loo. Whilst he wasn’t on at the end of a late night, in contrast to Norcott, Sinha did suffer from loud music coming from the pub (soon rectified by the sounds expert who thankfully had a word), two phones ringing, glasses being knocked over and a girl tripping on what sounded like a pile of crockery. He did get a good laugh for his response to the crockery girl – evicted from ninja school? but it was far from ideal. However, he didn’t bat an eyelid and cracked on with his preview (named Z Lister). His material consisted of a number of very astute observations, which were also very funny and delivered with enough irony to sell them. He’s obviously known for being an intelligent chap and this show contained lots of references, but these were pitched at the right level. Nothing that required exposition, but just a general knowledge. It was a lovely show and received five applause breaks, something you don’t see often.