Nott’s Comedy Festival – Bob Slayer

The final act of the night at the Blundabus was Bob Slayer. He wasn’t on the original bill, but was taking up the reins following a couple of cancellations. Considering the strength of his performance, I’m happy that it worked this way.
 
There are some people who attract attention. They walk into a room and everyone turns to look. Slayer is one of these people. I’m not sure if it is charisma, presence or just how he carries himself, but Slayer would stand out in most rooms. His delivery is little short of compelling and he has a wonderfully infectious laugh, sort of like Krusty the Clown from the Simpsons. This all adds to the atmosphere.
 
Slayer is also one of those people whom things happen to and genuinely fascinating things, too. This makes for a wonderful armoury of material. He doesn’t do puns or spend hours crafting away at a routine, but instead he just needs to recount a tale of his doings for the laughs to roll. Slayer does suffer from a number of weaknesses, though. One is pacing. Tonight he was billed for a hour and ran for two. Not quite Ken Dodd territory, but murder if you have to be somewhere and are entranced by the story. To keep it near to two hours, he didn’t take us to Cheltenham and I feel he could have ran for a lot longer without running dry or losing the room. In fairness, this is probably the quickest that two hours have ever passed in my life. The other weakness is that of focus. Ross Noble has done a tour titled TanGentleman and this is a label that could fit to Bob Slayer. All it took was for someone to mention a place or a thing and he had a fantastic tale to tell based on this. This did lead to some great stories, though and I feel it would take 6 hours or more to hear all that Slayer has to tell and even then it would probably just be the highlights.
 
Tonight he began with an explanation about a legal loophole regarding the status of the Blundabus, which was both funny and educational. This was then followed by a statistically near impossible coincidence. How many fans of Hereford Town can there be in the world? The answer outside Herefordshire is not many. I daresay you could stand in a room of 1000 people and not find one. Yet tonight Slayer stumbled over one in a much smaller room, which whilst it undermined his immediate point did lead him off on a lovely tangent. The actual show was about Slayer being a jockey and it’s a true romp of a tale. The actual story itself could have been told in 10 minutes if it had been edited down to its bare essentials, but it works far, far, far better when Slayer tells it with anecdotes, tangents, sidestories and sidetracks aplenty. I thoroughly enjoyed his show and despite 2 hours having passed it was all splendiferous. I’d like to see more of Bob Slayer and I feel he has a lot to offer, especially as a guest speaker, but he may have to get a firmer grasp of time keeping.
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