This month has been a rather frustrating month, comedy wise. I was hoping to get to a lot of gigs, but owing to my shift patterns and other commitments, I’ve only seen 36 Acts. These have varied in talent from Kevin Bridges, who was mostly on auto-pilot to a lad doing his first ever performance and who was really up for it.
The ones who have captured my attention this month are:
The Nightingale Bros
I saw these at the Teknicolour Smoof night in Telford and they were extremely good.
From the night:
Paul and Andy Nightingale compered this gig together. I’ve seen joint comperes before, but never a pair who work so well together. They have the sort of chemistry, timing and trust that only comes from having known each other for so long. This enabled them to not only banter with the room and each other, but also for one of them to go off on a tangent and the other to not look worried where he was heading. It was also extremely funny to see one corpsing whilst his brother was working. When the people on stage are loving what each other are doing it really helps to build a good atmosphere. As it was, they added a massive feel good sensation to the night. In fact, they were responsible for one of the highlights – this was when some later comers walked in through a side door and they both began to sing happy birthday to them, with half of the audience joining in – much to the bemusement of the interlopers. During the second section, they both appeared dressed as Santas, which was a nice seasonal touch. The final section involved a couple of members of the audience doing jokes. Generally getting the audience on stage is as wise as looking down a hose to see why no water is coming out, yet they chose their people well and it didn’t explode in their faces. They did the rules, kept it tight, were very funny and impressed me muchly.
Wonderfully dark and although he could perhaps split a few rooms, the people who loved his bleaker jokes will love them in a big big way.
From the night:
Masai Graham closed the middle section. He is probably the act I’ve heard the most about, but hadn’t actually seen in person. He has a massive reputation amongst the younger acts of the West Midlands circuit and having seen him, I can fully understand why. He was doing mostly new material, so not everything was as polished as if he had been doing his usual set, but even so it was great. He started with the darkest joke of the night, got a massive laugh and continued in this vein. He knows his material is dark, but he also knows the audience will go with him and this comes across strongly in his delivery and the jokes land all the better for it. I thoroughly enjoyed his set and thought he was extremely impressive.
Rather unconventional and there is a possible question mark regarding how many venues this would work in, but he is still very entertaining and I suspect has many rabbits he can pull out of his hat.
Next was Sean Morley. I’ve seen Morley before at the Cross Keys where he moved the audience about the room and then declared it a non gig. I’ve also heard him on the Radio 2 new comedian awards, where he did a similar stunt in declaring the night over. I enjoyed both airings, but was curious as to what he would be doing in Leicester – would it be a conventional routine, or would it be something similar, and if so would it suffer from the law of diminishing returns? How many times can a comedian turn a gig inside out and still receive laughs?
Morley began as soon as he was announced by McGuckin, but not by walking onto the stage as one may expect, but from his seat in the audience. He pretended that he was just an audience member and cheered and whooped, hollering for Sean Morley, demanding he get to the stage. This worked surprisingly well considering that half of the room knew who he was and in a larger, more anonymous setting, would be even funnier. Morley then took to the stage where he found a number of problems with the room’s ambience. This resulted in McGuckin dashing about, righting these issues. The end result was a room in total darkness – very unorthodox (I have heard of a gig in darkness in Copenhagen, where the MC stripped off, much to everyone’s surprise when the lights went back on). Naturally, Morley then declared the gig to be unplayable and that sadly he wouldn’t be able to continue. This was far funnier than it sounds on paper. The mirth of this is in Morley’s performance in getting from saying hello to saying sorry, but bye.
He is very erudite and has an excellent command of the English language. His demeanour whilst taking complete control of the room is that of the world’s most polite and remorselessly efficient public executioner. One who has just realised that if he can get everyone moving that little bit more quickly, he can have an early weekend (Come along you chaps! These executions won’t do themselves! Buck up! Some of us have a weekend to look forwards to. Not you lot, obviously, but I do…). The end result of this was that the law of diminishing returns did not kick in at all. It was hugely enjoyable and entertaining and I suspect that being as creative and verbally cultivated as he is, this will continue for a long time. I certainly hope so, although there is a lingering question of how long a set it can be done for.
Phil Pagett – very likely to be the next Gary Delaney. I’ve seen both Delaney and Pagett this month. I’ve previously recommended Pagett, so hesitate to do so again so soon, but the similarities between both in style and talent were remarkable. The only major difference was Delaney’s visible joy when a joke hit home and Pagett’s more deadpan demeanour.
Dave Rivers – he continues to do good performances that are solid and entertaining. He’s a man to watch for the future.
Rob Mulholland (MC) – Rob began the night as a conventional MC and whilst undoubtedly competent wasn’t spectacular. However, part way through a switch was flicked and he went into splendidly loopy mode, walking on top of chairs, straddling audience members and giving the audience the time of their lives. I’m not sure this would work in every venue, but it was massively entertaining and worth the price of admission alone.