This has been a fantastic month of comedy. I’ve seen 61 acts and have had a brilliant time. The highlight was seeing Scott Bennett on top form, the low light was some coked up fuckwits interrupting what was shaping up to be an excellent night.
These are the acts that have impressed me the most:
I wouldn’t be surprised if Carter doesn’t end up making a living out of comedy. He’s definitely got something about him and with enough stage time and continued writing he’s going to do well.
From the night:
Carter is a great new act and he’s always a joy to see on bills. He’s got bags of presence, a delivery that is earnest and brings everyone onboard wanting to hear what he is saying. The material is improving with every performance. Tonight Bear Cash got a huge laugh, partly because it sounds so odd, but also from Carter’s look of ‘what the heck?’ as he delivered it. Tonight Carter was the winner by a landslide and I can see him going far in this industry.
A performance that was superbly crafted.
From the night:
Cook is one of the most technically adept acts I’ve seen. He teaches comedy and it shows in his set, as he had everything spot on. His opening jokes were strong and were tied into the night (a person who looked like Dick Cheney and an undertaker sat in the audience). Cook’s pacing was great, with jokes not only coming at the right interval for the energy level in the room, but he neither spoke too quickly, nor too slowly and there were no lulls. Also, whilst there were plenty of jokes to each topic, nothing was taken to the point where it felt as if it had outstayed its welcome. There was a very subtle element of physicality to Cook’s delivery, as he would adjust his facial expression to accent the feeling he was imparting, or he would point or gesture with his hands. Nothing dramatic, but more than enough to add to what he was saying without distracting people. Similarly, Cook’s use of his voice with where he laid the stress on certain words in sentences made it clear what the key words in each routine were. This was all excellent. There was a lot of laughter during this performance. This was an impressive set.
The best I’ve seen of Bennett. This is going to be hard to top for performance of the year.
From the night:
I’ve seen a lot of Scott Bennett over the years and he’s one of my very favourite acts. Tonight, though, he surpassed himself. This was the best I’ve seen him and it was simply magnificent. What makes it even more remarkable was that a lot of it was fairly new material that he is perfecting. The tumble-drier was a great opening, 03.50 drinks great, drunk cooking has loads of promise, although it does need either a big ending or a strong link into something else, holidays with kids really came to life and above all the printer was massively funny. Even Kestrel for the crappy brand of lager was the perfect choice. Bennett has changed a few things in his delivery. For a start, he is using his wife’s name in his set and this gives it an added air of realism, familiarity and ultimately relatability; it’s no longer funny in the abstract as in ‘my wife said’. This is a small thing to change, but a big improvement. Above all, though, his going berserk over the malevolence of the printer ramped the laughter up sky high. The passion with which he delivered this routine was incredible. The use of the C-bomb (first time ever) and other strategic Fs pushed this routine massively. There were not just huge laughs during this set, but gigantic laughs. The closing routine tied everything together and was the perfect ending to a brilliant set.
A low energy act opening at a night where the lively audience is 90% comedy virgins and there are four coked up fuckwits on the second row could have been difficult. However, Lomas did brilliantly.
From the night:
Lomas is the best up and coming act in the country and tonight he demonstrated his talents. I’d not seen him open in front of an audience containing a disruptive element before and he handled it beautifully. As Simon walked to the stage someone shouted out ‘that’s my jumper you’re wearing’ to which Lomas replied, ‘yes, your mum gave it to me.’ This received a big laugh and it showed everyone that despite not looking dangerous, Lomas wasn’t afraid of biting back. From here he began his set and it was all that I expected: extremely well written, delivered with beautiful timing and with lots of laughter and applause after every joke. One of the four arseholes shouted things out a couple of times, so Simon carried out his threat of restarting a joke from the beginning. There was a lovely moment where he then asked one of these people which joke of his they had just got. This all received loads of big laughs and Lomas handled the audience wonderfully. It’s always a pleasure to see an act of this quality.