This has been another enjoyable year of watching live comedy. Owing to work and so on I only saw 100 or so gigs, but as always, there was a tremendous amount of quality acts on the bills. I’m still amazed that so many people who would say that they enjoy comedy only seem to want to watch it if it is a Netflix special.
Last year I saw eight male acts for every female, whereas this year it is more like six to one, which is a small improvement.
I was very pleased to do the Notts Comedy Review Awards for a third year with:
Simon Lomas getting £50 as funniest act
Stevie Gray £25 for best performance
Jamie Hutchinson £25 as most improved act
The highlights of the year have included the following:
The Elvis Dead – Rob Kemp has something magnificent here.
Panelbeaters, which unfortunately seems to have taken a break for a while, was consistently excellent, although out of the female panellists, it was only Steff Todd who managed to make the most of it.
Freddy Quinne’s solo show work up was a joy to see and the audience agreed – how often do you see someone put £20 in a bucket collection?
Stevie Gray rescuing a gig that was dying – this was a superb feat of performance.
Parapod live – this show was tremendous fun in front of a massively enthusiastic audience.
The Midland’s Comedy Awards ceremony – lovely to see so many comedians all having a lovely night and Barry Dodd’s compering was sublime.
Andy Robinson surely ticking off an item from his bucket list when the very drunken proprietor of a venue interrupted his act and tried to tell him to do what she said, stating that she was the one paying him: to which he replied that he would do what he liked as she was the one that had already paid him….
And a splendidly bonkers night in Chesterfield, where the MC got punched to the ground after asking a boxer to hit his arm, one act cunted the room, another died and stripped off naked and in a great callback to this another act began his set in his pants.
The lowlights of the year have included:
A 7-8 minute spot that morphed into a very long 20 when the act got carried away with the moment and missed the promoter flashing them until they had the house lights turned on.
One gong show entrant who spent their entire five minutes singing three songs in a row all about fannys. They followed this up in the final of the night with a fourth song about foofs.
An especially promising West Mids act having to take a step back from comedy for entirely understandable personal reasons.
Acts likely to have a breakthrough year:
Simon Lomas – rather than 2017, where he’s been storming middle spots and making it hard for headliners to follow, he will be smashing opening and closing spots instead and getting a lot more industry attention.
Scott Bennett – after turning pro and gaining more time to dedicate to comedy the sky is the limit for him.
Tom Houghton – charismatic, a superb performer, solid material, can sing, excellent with a crowd – this man will go far.
And two acts from whom other comedians could learn a lot: Adam Rowe and Freddy Quinne.
Acts that will make good career progress:
Newcomers/inexperienced acts who have impressed: