This has been a brilliant month for comedy. The Nottingham Comedy Festival was a lot of fun and brought some great shows to the city. The regular monthly nights were also very good, too. I saw 75 performances during this month and these are the ones that impressed me the most.
During the comedy festival there were a number of shows that were very enjoyable, but three stood out:
The Elvis Dead – Rob Kemp – I think most people know that this is a show that is as fantastic as the premise is barmy. It is also a must see.
The Parapod Live! – Barry Dodds and Ian Boldsworth – a one off, but given the love from the fans, many of whom had travelled for hours to see it, this is a show that has a real future.
LGBTQZX – Laura Monmoth – Laura’s got something special here and it is as creative as it is fun and should be seen by a lot more people than it has been.
From the comedy nights I’ve been to these acts have impressed me the most:
Bubbins was criticised in Edinburgh for being a ‘club comic’ and frankly I’d take that as a compliment, because he’s absolutely top notch.
From the night:
I’d last seen Bubbins in this very room a couple of years ago, where he had delivered a splendid set and so I was especially keen to see him tonight. Some people dress in a certain way to make a point, or to be ‘interesting’. In contrast, Bubbins dresses as if he’s just stepped out of 1974 simply because he likes the decade and that means he looks incredibly comfortable in a loud shirt and stylish jacket. The 1970s features a lot in his set, but he doesn’t go for obscure references that show how much he knows, instead he keeps it to the straightforward and accessible and it works very well. Evel Knievel, still famous, provided the basis for a strong routine and a lovely show closing callback. The rest of the material was equally powerful, with birth, shit town top trumps and the delights of Barry Island being thoroughly enjoyable. The newer material, such as the agricultural show (surnames was wonderfully subtle) and questionable sports were both superb. Bubbins is a more energetic performer than you’d expect and he certainly sells his set very well. His ability to do an accent is a huge attribute and really brought what he was saying to life. This was a smashing performance.
This was a riveting and extremely funny performance from an act who isn’t that well known in the North and that’s a shame, as he should be getting paid spots all over the country.
From the night:
King is visually interesting and this gives him a great gateway into his set, as it is all instantly relatable. He is also audibly nicely different – his soft accent and cultured voice is wonderfully disarming and one instantly knows that he isn’t going to be picking on anyone. Beckett-King reminded me a bit of Wrigglesworth as they are both wordsmiths and have a fantastic command of the English language. One difference is that Wrigglesworth does long routines and Beckett-King shorter, more punchy ones. This was a very intelligent set and I think that audiences find it rewarding when they have to work a bit to get all of the jokes. There were a lot of outstanding routines, with rare creatures being superb, as was the dictionary definition. I especially enjoyed the depiction of the window scene, which although slightly macabre was bloody funny. This set was delivered with a quiet panache and Beckett-King will go far.
Hutchinson has been a solid up and coming act for a while, but he has now taken it up another level.
From the night:
We resumed after the intermission with Jamie Hutchinson who although he didn’t win, possibly had the best gig of the night. Hutchinson has great vocal projection, which combined with his slightly aggressive tone and his new staccato delivery paid a huge dividend in laughs. This was a performance that had everyone sat up paying attention and is a big improvement from when I last saw him and he was good then. I think we can all say that he has literally found his comedy voice. It was great hearing the lass sat behind me howling with laughter throughout his set. The dating routine was strong, but the twist on it was superb, earning one of the few applause breaks of the night. This was a most impressive performance and Hutchinson was very well supported by the crowd clap vote. Although he was runner up, Hutchinson did push Lomas and with a slightly different running order he may well have took the trophy.
This last act is something of an oddity. This was only his second gig, but I think that there might be a touch of gold here. He takes a very dark approach to his material and with regular gigging I think he’ll do very well.
Glass was easily one of the most interesting acts of the night. Only on his second gig and he gave the room the darkest and most edgy material of the night. At first I thought he was going to be a bit hack, as jokes about a relative dying in their sleep with a pull back and reveal to them driving are too well known, but he had a lot better stuff in his arsenal. I loved the weight gain joke, this was extremely good. However, that joke and the baby’s head are both very dangerous to do, as whilst a few people can be offended by a dark joke, dead babies can actually upset people and there is a chance that a person having suffered a loss will be in the audience and doing material that features them is a bit like minesweeping – sooner or later you will get an explosion. What impressed me the most about Glass was his performance. He came over as just on the right side of arrogant, which was perfectly in tune with him pushing the envelope. The way he paused on occasion and let the audience work out the punchlines really brought people into his set. It means more when folk have to do a bit of thinking for themselves. His use of a silence was great. This was a technically excellent set and he made a good showing in the final.