January End of Month Review

This month has been a bit unbalanced for comedy, as the beginning of the month was a bit slow for gigs, but luckily during the final week I managed to see four shows in four nights. This isn’t easy when my shift pattern is four on, four off. Gigs this month have varied from Sarah Millican in a theatre to Gong Shows. Millican was rather unique in actually being able to still make a big show feel like an intimate gig.

These are the people who have impressed me most this month. As ever, comedians whom I have recently included in the end of month reviews are time barred.

Tom Allen

He was supporting Sarah Millican and whilst he wasn’t the person the audience had paid to see, he still made a very good impression. I enjoyed his style, material and delivery. The overall feeling was that he was a bit constrained by the set up and was capable of a lot more than the situation allowed.

The review from the night:

Tom Allen was supporting and his style, which was smooth and intellectual made for a contrast that worked well with Millican. He began by referencing his sexual orientation and getting some nice laughs for his talk about recruitment. A comedian who has what some may consider to be a defining characteristic of some sort: sexual orientation, disability, a questionable background, ethnicity, or whatever, can sometimes concentrate on this to the detriment of their set as a whole. I was a tiny bit concerned that Allen would be a one topic comedian, but thankfully he was far from it. He swiftly moved on to talking about his mum using her phone to take a photo, which was really well described and easily pictured. Following this, he arranged for the applause to begin in one corner of the room and then ripple out to the corner nearest to him. This involved him conversing with a teacher who was sat as far away from him as possible. Allen had good ears, and instead of a medley of pardons and what did she says, he developed a lovely bit of repartee that not only showed him to be very sharp, but was also able to generate laughs out of very little. When this teacher delayed with one answer, he did inform her that it was her own time she was wasting, which is a bit of a hack line, but one that he would have been silly not to have used under the circumstances. Allen was only on for a very short while and this was a real shame, as I was enjoying his set. Support acts can be a mixed bag, but every so often they will throw up something in the way of a gem, and Tom Allen is one such gem.

Tom Wrigglesworth

This is a man who probably needs little description, especially to anyone who listens to the Home Service. He demonstrated that although he may be fairly famous for his work on the wireless he has not lost his touch in playing to an audience.

The review from the night:

Tom Wrigglesworth, who was on a double up, opened the night. I’ve seen him live before, but this was about three years ago and then he was trying some new material. Tonight I was seeing him only a month after his series on the wireless had ended. It was evident from the amount of love he received that there were a lot of fans in the room, who had also enjoyed this series. He began by discussing a speed awareness course he had been on, before moving to alternative ways of pronouncing Cockburn and recalcitrant printers before ending back with the speed awareness course. In between, we had a link that took us from international Jihadis to ebay feedback in one bound, which worked beautifully and a lengthy explanation of the ins and outs of Terry Waite’s kidnapping for the benefit of the youngest person in the room and a discussion of acronyms. These last two topics, Waite and acronyms neatly demonstrated the trust that the audience had for Wrigglesworth. Either of these explanations, which were not intrinsically funny, could have robbed him of momentum, but instead the room stayed with him and benefited from their trust. The material itself was tightly written, with not a single word in the actual set that didn’t add some value to it. Wrigglesworth has a great command of the English language and seemed to pick the correct words to squeeze the maximum value from each sentence. It was interesting to see how he handled coming off of the script when the town clock, located approximately 20 feet above his head, gonged out the time. This made no difference to him, he took it in his stride and showed an impressive dry wit, even setting up something in the way of an Easter Egg for whomever was performing when it chimed for the next hour. This was a great set.

Harry Sanders

I saw Sanders in the Maze at the Funhouse gong show. He has some really good material that is married to a very nice delivery. At the moment he is not widely known, but he has the talent for this to change.

The review from the night:

Harry Sanders closed the first half. I’ve only seen Sanders once before, which is a shame, as he is a very strong act who writes some extremely good material. He made a nice start tonight and then built momentum from there. His delivery was easily the most polished of the night and in my opinion, his material was the stand out material of the night, too. He received 5 green glowsticks all the way through his set and the only two laughter breaks of the night, where there was no point him saying anything as the room were still too busy laughing at his last joke. Some of these jokes were wonderfully dark, but as they were clever in their darkness, rather than merely an attempt to shock and worked tremendously well. As it happened, he didn’t win tonight, which came as a surprise to me, but he had a really good night all the same.

Moses Nassah (also known as Moses Hassan)

I’ve seen him a couple of times and I’ve always enjoyed his work. He has a good stage presence and does some wonderfully dark material. He writes a lot of new material and has an enthusiasm and hunger for comedy that is more refreshing than just seeking to make a living out of it. He’s just beginning to get paid gigs, but he has what it takes to go a lot further.

From the night:

Moses Nassah was an act I was very interested in seeing. I’ve only seen him the once, but he’s come a fair way since then. The jokes he airs on facebook are good, as are his comments on other people’s posts. Both of these evidence a keen wit, rather than give away a lot in the way of his set. In addition to this, a few of the bookers I know have been saying some very nice things about him. This all served to generate interest in what he would be doing. Nassah wasn’t as dark in tone as the first time I saw him, which may help broaden his appeal, but could be a move away from his strongest stuff. Having said that, he made a good start and was one of the acts that generated momentum in his set. He had a wonderful double reveal on alarm, an involved, but very funny phoning in sick and a great call back to the compering and received consistent laughs. Nassah made it through to the final four, which tonight was no mean achievement.

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