Tonight I was up in Sheffield at the New Barrack Tavern for the Funhouse Comedy night. This gig is very popular with comedians who have done it and I’m not surprised. Kev (sadly not present tonight) and Steph who run the pub are very enthusiastic about comedy and this rubs off on the audience who are very much up for a great night.
Fran had a great night compering. He’s a very gentle and affable MC and people are more than happy to chat with him. His people skills are very strong and folk take to him very quickly. Within moments of coming to the stage he had everyone singing happy birthday to Andrew, who had spent all day in bed with a migraine. Jenking was very quick thinking tonight and in every interaction he had, he very swiftly found the funny in it. There were a lot of funny moments during Fran’s work, such as his voice on ‘I bet it was’ when discussing the highlights of a spa weekend, or when he was working out the logistics of custard pieing someone. A wonderful addition to the night was Amy, who was a giggler. She was a real joy to have in the room and I think every act wanted to book her for their upcoming gigs. During the second section Fran perhaps did a touch more than was strictly necessary, but he was getting laughs and everyone was enjoying it, so that’s no big deal. This was quiet, but skilled compering and I enjoyed every minute of it, including the free sweets.
Deeley is a great joke writer and this came to the fore tonight, with some excellent gags, such as the Irish Bar, the threesome and the Grandfather clock. These were all top notch jokes that stood out. The rest were all pretty good, too. However, to begin with, he didn’t generate as much momentum as I was expecting. The audience were laughing at what he was saying, but didn’t seem to commit to him for the first couple of minutes, but after that, they were all onboard. Speaking quickly and pacing the stage with tons of energy, Deeley delivered the goods and made for an adept opening act.
Craig is one third of the trio (with James Cook and Phil Pagett) who comprise the News with Jokes podcast, one of the rare podcasts I don’t like to miss and it is always well worth a listen:
When I last saw David Eagle he was being crowned NCF’s new comedian of the year at Canal House and although I’ve not seen him since, I’ve heard off of a few folk that he’s been doing well. Although being introduced as a local lad didn’t do him any harm, the audience’s enthusiasm for Eagle came through his likeability and innate sense of humour. This is an act who has a great feel for the funny and he made an immediate impression on everyone. He’d been listening to what Fran had been saying and was able to address audience members by name and tailor material to them. It’s always impressive when acts can do that. After a solid opening the laughs came very easily for David, throughout this set, with only a slight lull on shipping forecast, which was mostly due to it being a change of pace. The callback that he closed on was a unique and splendid way to finish what was a strong set.
Bragg is a comedy technician. The construction of his set was great. His material was cleverly written and his deliberately slow paced delivery was pitched to get the most from all he said. This was a performance where everyone was listening, enjoying and waiting for punchlines to fall. Bragg’s obviously put a lot of thought into what he was doing and it paid off handsomely. Even the little touches such as moving the microphone away at one point added a heck of a lot to the performance. There was some new material being tried tonight and I liked what I saw. The platform joke was deliciously dark and although it got a good laugh, it deserved a lot more. This was a performance that was too short for my liking. I really wanted to see more.
Percival is a superb headliner. He sells his material wonderfully. Percival delivers his material with such enthusiasm and joy that it looks as if he’d only wrote it that morning and has been itching to try it out all day. This requires a lot of skill and it is magnificent to see. He builds up tons of momentum and energy in the room and this results in big laughs. He closed the night on a high.