Tonight I was at the Canal House to see both Gary Delaney and Scott Bennett. Owing to a Pagan Pride Festival (a new one on me, too) being double booked in the upstairs room, the actual comedy was taking place downstairs in the main bar. The presence of two canal boats gave the place a unique feel. It also made it feel a bit like a low rent Bond villain’s lair. The seats were arranged with some armchairs at the front, which must have made for a surreal experience, as the people sat in them were probably used to watching Delaney whilst sat in an armchair at home. The room was packed out, lovely to see. Also lovely to see, was comedy talent (Mr Stevie Gray) present in the audience, come solely to support other live acts. There was no MC as such, instead Elliott did the rules and welcomed everyone to the room.
Delaney was offering a work in progress. An insight into how he prepares for a tour. In effect, the audience were Guinea Pigs/Quality Control for his jokes. To this end, he had a selection of buckets into which he would place bankers, decent and rejected gags. He also had a series of notes, which he liberally marked with a green marker as each pun fared.
I think everyone has seen Delaney on telly, but what doesn’t come across in that medium is his sheer joy when a pun hits home, or even his giggle when he looks at his next offering. This is a man who hugely enjoys what he does and this is infectious. You only have to see him read a pun to himself, raise an eyebrow to the room and announce that this one is too offensive for the audience, to be half way to laughter. The Simian reveal was priceless, but to be honest, even his rejects were good. The show finished on a high with some amended internet entries. The only negative point and I’m sure many acts would like to claim this point, is that laughter fatigue sets in at about the 50 minute mark. There are only so many times that you can laugh within a hour and when the jokes are coming as fast as Delaney delivers them, you do get in need of a chance to catch your breath.