July 2017 – acts that have impressed me the most

This has been a bit of a different month for comedy, as it was very firmly Edinburgh Preview territory. Hence this is divided into two. Circuit nights and Previews.

These are the acts who have impressed me the most this month:

Alistair Williams

A thoroughly enjoyable set that never felt like it was going to outstay its’ welcome.

From the night:

I saw Williams in Edinburgh last year – a bit of a lucky punt on my part to be honest – and with him being based down south I’d never seen him since, so having him on the bill was a big bonus. This was a set that combined well written material, good stage presence and a bouncy delivery; I enjoyed it a lot. Williams has a cheeky grin and looks happy on stage, which is always nice to see in an act. He also has skill with accents and was able to use this to add more depth to his delivery when discussing Australians and Mancunians. The routines were well put together and also in some ways thought provoking. The next time I see a picture of the Sydney Opera House, I’ll definitely be wondering what is inside. Dinner was probably the stand out routine of what was a cracking set.

Zoe Lyons

This was impressive for its quality and just how new it was. Seeing a headlining act doing a new set rather than resting on their laurels was lovely.

From the night:

It’s nice to see a comedian who has a following and the presence of Lyons’ name on the bill seemed to have specifically attracted a few extra people to the gig judging by some of the reactions of the audience. This was a set that had the feel of having been written during the last year or so, with plenty of stuff about Brexit and so on. This was lovely for a couple of reasons; one, a lot of headline acts have mature sets that vary little from year to year, so a new set of this calibre is superb and gives people a reason to see her more than every other year or so; and two, instead of a standard Brexit routine insulting people’s motives in voting, this section concentrated on the personal side of the result and how it has played out in her house. This was nicely different. Lyons is wonderfully lively on stage, acting out what she is saying, which adds a nice visual element to her work. Her delivery was great and its no wonder there was a lot of laughter in the room.

Sam Gore

Gore is always worth seeing and I’ve never felt that he has given anything less than 100% on the shows I’ve seen on.

From the night:

Gore has been consistently excellent on Panelbeaters. Every time I’ve seen him on the show he has been very well prepared with jokes in both quantity and quality. Today he was smartly dressed in jacket and shirt and he must have been melting on the stage, but this didn’t effect how funny he was at all. Amongst other things, Gore can do clever jokes, dark jokes, sick jokes and clever dark sick jokes. This means that there is a thrill of anticipation when he buzzes in; more so when he pauses as if trying to judge whether the room will go with what he is about to say. Some of his highlights were Findus Lasagne, Bill Cosby, Google tax returns and the second series of Sons of Anarchy, which frankly deserves as much shit pouring over it as possible. Gore is a superb panellist.

Steff Todd

I saw Todd on Panelbeaters and she managed to make quite an impact, even though the panel featured some very experienced acts. She’s an act who has a definite future as a performer.

From the night:

Todd was the odd one out on this panel – all of the other contestants are (I believe) pro comedians and she was the least experienced by quite a way. You wouldn’t have believed this, though, from watching her. Todd’s reference points aren’t arcane or require a lot of time listening to the home service to get; instead they are down to earth. This makes them more relatable. When she mentioned eyelashes on cars everyone knew the sort of person she was talking about and the same with her nanna and Liam Neeson. Todd’s standout line was about a wine list, which was a very strong gag. Like everyone else on the panel, not everything she said landed, but a heck of a lot did and I’d like to see more of Todd on the show.

Honourable Mentions:

Clint Edwards

Edinburgh Previews

I’ve seen a few of these this month and the ones that stood out were:

Peter Brush, Josh Pugh and Tony Cowards

Brush’s show is extremely well written and in its own way thought provoking. Pugh’s show is a bit of a greatest hits selection, but no less excellent for that – when an act has talented as him showcases his best stuff then only a fool would want to miss it. Tony Cowards’ show is a fantastically funny hour full of clever puns and is guaranteed to make people laugh for days after they’ve seen it.


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