Tonight I was back at Bluey’s for the FaF Promotions comedy night. This is a lovely night in a very friendly pub – the sort of place where you feel welcome from the moment you step inside to when you leave – and obviously a lot of people agree with that, as there were plenty of people there to see the show. One could definitely tell that it was coming up to Christmas as there was a tree next to the stage and I had to struggle not to be mesmerised by the flashing lights on it. I was lucky enough to have the landlady, Leonie sat next to me and she’s the ideal audience member – she enjoys comedy, doesn’t heckle and has the sort of loud and infectious laugh that she could rent out to less entertaining nights. As an added bonus, parking was also a doddle.
Steff Todd (MC)
It’s nice to see Todd compering. She comes to the stage with energy, enthusiasm and a lot of charm. She also has written enough one-liners to give her a fighting chance of having something to counter anything that is said, too. A nice bonus to this are her impressions, which add a nice touch of variety to what she does and this could be expanded. Todd is a very endearing presence and she has no end of little actions that she will do to sell what she is saying. There were, however, a few things that I felt that she could have done differently tonight, which might have helped her, but they all come under the one heading and that is verbal repetition. It’s not the end of the world when the MC has a few favourite things to say and I was most likely the only person to really notice most of it, but for someone who is so obviously equally talented and on the way up in the world it’s nice to see them be the best they can be. The phrases that stood out were ‘right’, ‘my friend’, ‘like your style’ and variations on ‘fuck’. All of these were overused (some more than others); worse things happen at sea by far, but it’s just something to consider. I’d also like to see Todd not say that she’s there to talk shit, I’m sure that is part of the persona, but I felt that it did slightly devalue the good work that she was doing. The crowd were lively with Nev (picture a well built Lenny Sherman) playing a large role in proceedings, but she handled them well and had the room quickly settled. I enjoyed the game of who had to be up earliest as this was novel and it brought the audience into the night. Those minor suggestions do make this review sound slightly negative, but far from it. This was a good performance that everyone enjoyed.
Opening was Billy Lowther, who is one of my favourite acts. He not only is an eye catching presence, but he has a rock solid set that he delivers in a grandiose style. Tonight he was demonstrating a set that contained quite a lot of new material and it was as finely honed and crafted as anything I’ve seen him do – gym was superb. Within three minutes Lowther received his first round of applause and he continued getting them throughout his set. Not only were the individual jokes strong, but they were well constructed, too, with toppers and just enough of a pause to ensure that they hit home as hard as they could. It was lovely hearing people still laughing at the jokes long after they’d been told. This was a smashing set.
We resumed after the intermission with Jed Salisbury whom I last saw a few years ago at a horrible charity gig in Lincoln. Salisbury was originally down to do a ten spot, but owing to various issues he ended up doing a twenty and he didn’t look out of place in the least. There was no feeling of his set being a ten padded out to twenty, or a first rate ten followed by a slightly patchy ten: instead it was consistently good all the way through and I’m surprised that I’m not seeing him getting more opening spots. Jed hit the room like a ball of energy, making a big entrance and getting everyone shouting, building up no end of atmosphere and all before he even touched the mic. As the second Hull based act of the night, I did have a slight concern that material based on Hull had already been ticked off on the list, but Salisbury has gigged with Lowther enough to be aware of this and so he took his set in a different direction. This was just as well, because both of them have the same build and dress not too dissimilarly (a fact that was alluded to later in the set when it came to parentage) and so if they had anything that was similar in the way of jokes, it would be even harder to pull off. The Brighthouse material was nicely contemporary and without coming close to losing the humour, also probably educational. The Jesus material was clever and I thoroughly enjoyed the big ending. This was a very good set from an act who has really come on well since I last saw him.
Closing was Silky, an act that I’d not seen before. To begin with the tech was plagued by an attack of gremlins, but rather than have a strop, prevaricate or restart, Silky just ad-libbed his way through it and simply put this was glorious. He gave an incredibly strong impression of being 2 steps ahead of everyone in the room. Silky has that combination of spotting what is occurring, thinking up a line whilst noticing it and the comic ability to bring this together to create mirth; something not easily mastered. There was a courting couple whose inhibitions had loosened, which when mixed with a total inability to whisper in any way which wouldn’t be heard 2 miles away could have made things awkward, but it was handled beautifully. Silky suggested that they go somewhere else and begin work on conception, which brought the house down and this was followed up by some lovely jokes which worked the oracle in getting them to pay attention without being harsh or losing anyone. This was a set with a lot of room work and this gave the performance a huge feel of being laid on especially for that audience and it was a very powerful to experience. It was hard to spot what was an ad-libbed line and what was actually material modified slightly to account for the room. I’ve seen acts hold audiences through the fear of being spoken to, but with Silky, he held the room through respect for his art and a shared interest in what he was doing. The set was ended by three songs and I’m not that huge a fan of musical comedy, but even so, it was as pleasure to watch him at work. This was a magnificent set from a comedian who is absolutely razor sharp.