This has been a brilliant month for comedy. I’ve seen 65 acts at shows ranging from gongs to an English Comedian of the Year semi final and also an excellent episode of Panelbeaters. It’s been extremely difficult to narrow this list down. However, these are the acts that have impressed me the most this month:
I’ve seen Lomas twice this month, once at the English Comedian of the year semi final, where he did ten minutes and went through as winner by a landslide vote. However, it was him doing a longer set in Grantham that I found to be the more amazing of the two performances. To do what he does over ten minutes is excellent, but to do it over fifteen (or indeed longer) is fantastic.
From the night:
This was the first time I’d seen Lomas do a fifteen spot and whilst over ten he is probably one of the best comedians in the country, I was curious as to whether he could maintain his deadpan low energy approach for a longer set. The answer is that with extra time he was even better. He came onto the stage and took up his stance, looking to the right of centre and began what was a gloriously slow paced set. Lomas has longer pauses between jokes than anyone else would dare. Most comics would see it as dead time that could be filled with a gag, but instead, Lomas, without saying anything got laughs and built up comedic tension from being stood there and the audience were quickly laughing with anticipation during these moments. After he had established his persona, Lomas chatted to a chap on the front row, which led to a brilliantly conceived opening for an archery joke. There were 8 applause breaks and some of this was due to the audience taking advantage of the pacing between gags to applaud, but these were all earned applause breaks, Lomas was getting or on the verge of getting, applause for everything he said, which is remarkable. When he left the stage it was to the sound of not only applause, but also cheers from a very impressed audience.
Jones is a very strong comedian. He’s already good, but he has got tons of potential to become even better.
From the night:
I’ve seen English Comedian of the Year finalist Clayton Jones twice in the last couple of weeks and that is no hardship. Resuming after the first intermission, he hit the ground running as he delivered the standout set of the night. Jones has good material and stage presence, but what really sells it to me is his performance. He is fully aware that he is performing in front of a live crowd and his non-verbal audience interactions add so much to his show. The way he nods, looks at people, hushes the crowd to build tension on the African name and the side to side glance and giggle when doing his son’s comment are all absolutely spot on. It’s nice to see a comedian who is not only funny to listen to, but also funny to watch as they deliver their lines.
This was a great set. Although Freddie was runner on the night, we all know that second is just a first that’s had a hard life.
From the night:
On any bill Quinne would have to be a serious contender. Over twenty minutes I’d consider him quite possibly unbeatable, but I was curious as to whether seven minutes would be enough for him to build up a head of steam. As it happened, he powered through the room making it through to the next round and being the act I most enjoyed. He began with a fairly long set up, which seemed to eat time until he got to the funny bit which amply justified the investment in it. This was just the start of a performance that included three or four routines that all landed knockout blows. Any one of these routines would have stood out for quality and squeezing them all into the one set was highly impressive. The delivery fully did justice to the material, being slightly camp when talking about his sister and having great tonal quality. It’s lovely when an act manages to place the stress on the correct syllable of certain words to get the maximum emphasis of what they are saying – it’s a subtle touch but one that massively adds value and clarity to their delivery. Also, it is usually the comedians who speak quietly that draw the audience in, but Quinne managed to achieve that by talking loudly, which is pretty exceptional. This was a stand out performance that saw Quinne through to the next round.
Taylor’s act works on a lot of different levels and is always a joy to watch.
From the night:
Taylor is a delightfully surreal act who is consistently very good. He is also perceptive when it comes to constructing his set and this is demonstrated in the quality of his work. In seven minutes he managed to find time for some sharp observations about the room, some great jokes and some lovely short songs and this was seven minutes that went by rather quickly. What I appreciated the most about this set was that he constantly wrong footed the audience. They would follow the set up and reach one conclusion, whereas Taylor would then reveal a punchline that was unexpected and which landed all the more because of it. I don’t think that there was a single line or moment that didn’t add mirth during this performance. Taylor comfortably made it through to the next round.
Andrew Bird, Jack Campbell, Luke Wright, Mo Haroon, Pat Monahan, Sam Gore,Tom Binns and Wayne Beese (MC),