So I haven’t written a report for one of my gigs for a while but really wanted to for this one. 7 years and still going our monthly comedy night at the Crown Inn returned with what is now a twice yearly professional headliner show and I had booked London based Scottish comedian of the year Leo Kearse as the headliner. He’s one I’ve had on my wish list for a really long time cause he’s a uber strong weekend club act in his own right but he also writes puns as well on the side (UK pun champion 2015) and does them as a character act he calls ‘punman’ which is obviously my kind of thing so wanted to get him to come and do both.
He also brought a couple of open spots with him from London to give the long term regulars some new faces. Nick Clarke was meant to be the compere for the night but had a bout of Australian flu so local boy Wayne Beese jumped up from 10 spot to compering duties instead the day before the gig. This gig was disheartening somewhat for me to begin with as sales hadn’t been anywhere near as strong as we hoped and didn’t move at all for nearly 3 weeks until we got a sudden mini surge in the days running up to it and another one the day before and we yet more who came and paid on the door.
So I did my usual waiting and fretting in the corridor but have been taking that easier than I used to do these days, but still constantly logged into facebook messenger on the tablet still… just in case. The London car full arrived in plenty of time but Rob got stuck in a bit of traffic was a bit later and were left waiting Wayne to arrive to compere and I was beginning to worry but he turned up just in time. Usually I stand outside in the corridor with the other acts all night but this was a special night and we had 2 acts from high on my wish list performing I wanted to be ‘in’ on all the action so went in and sat with the regulars at the front. We had a mix of regulars and people completely new to the gig.
Show kicked off with landlord John doing his usual pre-compering bit and he was already getting laughs! Just for doing his admin so it was already shaping up to be a good night. Wayne Beese who I originally saw on about his 4th ever gig and it had been well over a year since he last performed for us and he has become such a strong compere now. He launched straight into some crowd work to get them on side and started slagging off other rival parts of Telford which the audience loved. He then turned his attention to a brand new retired couple at the gig for the first time Anne & her husband who turns out had been married for 50 years and met in a sausage factory; which proved to be a goldmine of re-accruing material throughout the whole night. The crowd were well warmed up and ready for Rob Mitchell who opened the show; He had come last year on a more quiet night and had had a good gig and I then booked him for the Forton show off the back of it and he smashed it. Invited him for xmas special but that show had to be moved due to snow so booked him to open this night instead. He proved a perfect opening act for this show with quips about his day job as a teacher. He’s an extremely likeable person on stage has got a confident delivery, good hit rate and some very clever pull back & reveals. I will be booking him again in the future. He comes highly recommended to others for paid 10’s. Anne had already become the star of the show in some ways already by shouting out ‘’Oh yeah’’ mid-joke set up at random points and this was to be a re accruing them of the night. Next up was Punman who unknown to the audience right up until this moment is Leo’s alter ego character and this confused a few people I think despite the false eyebrows he uses to try and hide it. The look and costume was sheer shock value enough for people to start laughing and he gave a taste of what was to come getting groans for his first two gags following by the “get on board this is it” quip getting a bigger laugh. Took them a few minutes to adjust to his Scottish accent but it’s fair to say this was the maybe the one act of the night that split the room somewhat with groans & eye rolls from the ‘new’ half of the audience but tears of laughter from the regulars; however the asides getting good laughs throughout still. “Any subject any subject at all” his signature line only getting suggestions from gig regular Aaron “Ok any subject at all prefefbly not from that guy” being a killer line. I won’t lie this is TOTALLY my kind of thing this so I was in my element for 15 minutes.
Second section begins with John getting laughs for his announcement again. Wayne launches straight into material this time test running his ‘tight 7’ for his English Comedian Of Year heat in a weeks time although his got derailed a bit by Anne shouting out ‘’Oh yeah’’ again but he worked the banter into it flawlessly and got good hard belly laughs from the pay offs to the stories. Ryan Dalton was first of 2x 10 spots from London and he had a very tight solid set. He began with material about his height & appearance and later some stuff about comparing London with cultures in other parts of the country and he got a great crowd response. I’m savvy and therefore I was way ahead on his first pull & back reveal but not any of his others later on, very slick delivery, very professional a thumbs up from me and the crowd. Aaron Simmonds was next who is a disabled comedian and Anne shouted out she couldn’t see him when got to the stage but he had a quip for that in the bank which got the audience on his side straight away. His material is about his life and how patronizing ‘’able bodied’’ people are to the disabled with some tales of how well he’s been able to turn it to his advantage and how when you see something out of context your not getting the full picture.
Final section and we were a bit behind the planned time and losing only 1 audience member. Wayne wasted no time in bringing on Scottish Comedian of the year Leo Kearse to do his headline set and he begins with “Hello…erm for the first time” as a in-joke quip. Like any professional club act then had the entire round his finger for the next 25 minutes, I won’t give too much of his set away but themes include politics, Scottish culture, holidays & train tickets. He does a lot of blue material about sex & his cock which I thought might offended the older audience but no it all went down a storm with them. I especially like the story about him & holiday and his shitty pants instance and the ending bit about train tickets. It has very out of leftfield punch line at the end. I still aim to try and book him to headline my Forton gig at some point in the future when I can get him.
First time in year I’ve sat in the audience for the entire show and you get a much better experience than you do in the corridor it’s where I want to be here on in. Best night we’ve had in a LONG time in terms of audience enjoyment & the ‘consistency’ in quality throughout the entire show. Next show is the short month gap so hoping it’s another full room cause we’ve got ‘transgender Dave Gorman’ Laura Monmoth having a bash at being the compere for us and 2 other acts I’m DYING to see the crowd reactions too. Mark Grimshaw & Steve Lee’s ‘Mad Ron’ character… can’t wait for that one either.