Tonight I was up in Sheffield at the Lescar for The Little Last Laugh. Whilst not as busy as usual (possibly due to the heat and the local students having gone home), it was still standing room only. In contrast to my last few visits there was no Big Shaun compering, which was a shame as I was looking forwards to seeing how he was coming on.
I’d only seen Pritchard once before and that was in Edinburgh, where she was a panellist on Paul Savage’s Hell to Play, where owing to a solid format and strong regular cast, she hadn’t really had much to do. However, seeing her name on the bill was a bonus, as there are some acts that you hear good things of, but who seldom seem to cross your path.
Pritchard announced at the top of the show that she was feeling unwell, but with any luck her having a good gig will have helped her recovery. She had a cracking gig and I doubt that if she hadn’t mentioned it that anyone would have guessed that she was under the weather. Pritchard received consistent laughs throughout her set and her timing on the topper to having gone vegan and noticing she was feeling better was superb. The pause was just long enough to get the most from that.
Pritchard spoke about growing up in Anglesey, her father, weekend gigs, after gig meals and about waxing (70’s theme was a clever line). However, the vast bulk of her material was sexually explicit in nature. This wasn’t done in a salacious way, but more in a matter of fact way and somehow this made it feel less relentless than what it would have done coming from a less skilled act. The tale of Siri, her and her boyfriend actually came off as pretty heart warming. Kiri discovered another Welsh speaker amongst the audience and I was surprised by this as the odds of that can’t have been very high. The line about audience intelligence and Blackpool was good, but this could have been improved if she had tied it to a local shit town, such as Doncaster, but that’s a minor point.
This was a very enjoyable set that everyone got behind and it was a shame that Pritchard wasn’t on longer.
Kai Humphries – Team Smug (Edinburgh Preview)
Following the intermission it was time for Kai Humphries’ Edinburgh Preview, entitled Team Smug. I’d not seen Humphries before, but I’d heard a fair bit about a lot of good work he does for disadvantaged people with his Punch-Drunk Comedy promotions. Owing to a lack of stage time, partly caused by world cup disruption, this was more of a work in progress than a full preview, which was fair enough.
Humphries opened with some light hearted comments about last night’s semi final loss to Croatia and these were well judged as it would have felt odd if no one had mentioned that match and because he didn’t dwell on it, he also kept the mood upbeat. This led smoothly into his material on having moved to London, which was a fun routine (minutes was a great line) and then from here we were into what I expected to be the meat of Humphries’ show: his upcoming marriage.
In some ways this was an unusual performance, because on the one hand, you could probably count the number of swear words on that one hand, but on the other, a fair bit of the material was cock related. It’s impossible, though, to feel offended by anything that Humphries says because he looks so cheerful on stage. He has a very pleasant grin and is so bright and buoyant delivering his material that even the line about the sock felt exuberant.
There were some cracking routines in this show. Men and Motors was very relatable to anyone of a certain age (and from his description it was rendered easily accessible to those under 30) and the channel change was a brilliant line. The levitating teacher was a superbly vivid scenario. The difference between how someone is described in life and in death has a heck of a lot of mileage in it – this could possibly even be fleshed out into a longer routine with some tangible celebrity versions for people to get their teeth into before he moved onto his Granddad. Similarly the inclusion of Mrs Brown’s Boys in the dvd wallet could be added to, as that seemed to slip out almost under a few people’s radar – it certainly deserved more than it received. The routine about Andy was also very strong.
I liked the tale involving Berocca, but having never touched the stuff, I got the context from the joke. I may or may not be in a minority on this, but perhaps beetroot might be a more accessible alternative? There were a few moments during some of the set ups where the energy dipped a bit, but if these were tightened up so as to be a touch less wordy then I think the energy levels would be maintained.
This was a buoyant performance that felt refreshingly cheerful and upbeat. I think once it is finished Humphries will have a funny and amiable show on his hands that brightens people’s lives up for an hour.