My show this morning was Fat Head and the Big Dog (Newsroom 11.05), which had a title that gave nothing away. The actual format of the show was two comedians from Northern Ireland, Dave Elliott (Big Dog) and Aaron McCann (Fat Head), who took turns to do their set. I quite like arrangements like this, as it can be hard for up and coming comedians to fill an entire hour without resorting to padding. It also keeps the show fresh when there are two differing styles in play. Initially there was no atmosphere, but that was due to the early time spot. The venue is a cellar and whilst it could have been anytime outside, I think it still felt a bit unnatural to be watching comedy just before dinner and this explained why it took a while for the audience to relax into the show.
The softly spoken Elliott opened with a couple of timely observations from the Fringe. Whilst I could readily sympathise with wanting to chin a pretentious southerner, it was the story of the homeless lady that got the bigger laugh of the pair. This made for a decent enough opening, but chatting with the audience for a bit would have helped them engage more with the show at this early stage, as the atmosphere was still a bit flat and disconnected. This probably explained why the first routine (girls) didn’t strike home as well as it might have done under other circumstances. However, after the audience had warmed up a bit, this set went along very nicely. The story about him playing a game with his mum and her wonderfully over the top threat was delivered well and received a big laugh. The pie had a long set up, but worked out nice in the end and parents as friends was also good. The final routine was a bit of a strange one. The set up was quite involved, but the reveal, whilst it got a good laugh, felt a bit low powered and I think he could have perhaps made more out of it. This set suffered a bit from the atmosphere, but it had some nice subtle lines and was delivered well.
Aaron McClean, took full advantage of the warmed up room when he launched into his set. He began with talking about his mum and facebook. Whilst parents and social media is a well used trope, he still managed to get some mileage out of it, which was nice to see. He was definitely on better ground, though, when discussing a gorilla and facebook comments. His line about Dr Doolittle was great and the follow up really raised the laughter levels. This was followed by a good routine about remembering names and the momentum continued to build until we reached the end of his set. McCann delivers his material with energy and managed to build up a lot of impetus during his set.
This show featured two comics, of differing styles and whilst the time slot wasn’t to their advantage they both provided good entertainment.