A new year and the first teknicolour smoof gig of 2015 and for the first time since moving it to a Tuesday 2 years ago we have ran it in January and thus didn’t know what to expect but a few days before the gig I was informed it was up to 29 tickets and we’d be in the front the room for it so this is how it went down. I never say no to act who wants an open spot I’ve not seen so this gig is already filled until may but as per normal drop outs on the day (No I won’t name and shame them). So all those folks I have to book 6 months ahead really need to try messaging me 2 hours before the gig because that’s when I need acts ;p but a last second plea meant I rounded up an extra act for the night at the eleventh hour and we had a show.
We had all of the regulars in tonight and then some. Guest compere was Dave Pollard (his 4th compering outing) and what a fantastic job he did of it because it needed to be material based instead of banter based for this crowd and he did a great job of incorporating local knowledge he had read up before hand at the start of the show. Well warmed up after about 10 minutes we had what is sometimes known as a the graveyard slot (but not tonight) up first was Marin Huburn who was really on form tonight. John described his stuff as ‘old skool’ and I’d agree with that and it’s not the best or strongest material I’ve ever heard but he has trimmed a lot of the fat away now and has a very nice delivery and he comes across as very likable, certainly got the audience on side here. Owen Morris was next up who again got the crowd on side; nice pacing and very confident on stage. His stuff is very laid back with some nice pull back & reveals and very well timed punch lines. It’s very good & composed for the first 5 minutes after which it did trail off a bit and needs some editing but a thumbs up overall and will rebook for dawley. Closing the first section was the act who’d braced the potential weather warnings and travelled the furthest Nigel Needam who is another character/concept act that you really have to buy into and give your full attention to reap the rewards. It’s really hard to review him without giving too much of his material away but its a super sour totally bone dry deadpan character which is kind of like the material concepts of Harry Hill but delivered in the style of Stephen Wright (for a lack of a better way of describing it) recurring themes, weird tangents of thought and completely random lines that wouldn’t be funny at all out of context of this act. Comedy marmite but totally genius if you buy into it and they REALLY bought into it here tonight, the regulars are really getting comedy savvy at this gig.
Second section begins with more of Dave Pollard really doing a fine job of compering and finding great ways of incorporating bits from his normal set into it. Ste Jones was first up in this bit who I’ve gigged with a lot and though hasn’t changed the material the delivery of it gets better every time I see him. One Liners delivered in a cross between straight and deadpan but has a great way of beginning his set so that you don’t think he’s going to be a one-liner comedian to begin with. There not all gold of course but some really good ones in there, he needs to keep writing more. Next up was the first outing of what is to be a new monthly feature of the gig this year; brand new material from Colin Harris and myself (blocked together as 1x 10 minute spot) Colin Harris first up with a surprising good and well constructed set (considering it was all completely new) don’t like to give peoples material away too much in these so can’t go into more detail here but he had some keeper material in there for sure. Next was Roger Swift (that’s me) opening with 5 new prop puns (all ticks) then read from my clipboard of all my recent facebook statues, which I’m saying out loud to an audience for the first time, then had a few new picture puns to end on. I will always have to do this new stuff more straight (far less energy & rhythm than my normal act) but all but one of them got ticks here tonight; meaning they got laughs and/or groans. What then followed was Dave Pollard doing his ‘Roger Swift – Tribute’ routine which his him doing his own version of me which is near perfect in every detail complete with bright Hawaiian shirt, homemade props and unstoppable energy which given 50-60% of the audience who were there were familiar with it and had only been reminded of it a month before it went down an absolutely storm (just lost it’s pacing for a second whilst he tried to dig out a misplaced prop) a well placed break then followed.
In the final section we began with Toni Mullider a local lady on only her second ever gig and I’m going cut the pleasantries for a moment and be totally honest and blunt about something here. She did something what a lot of first/second timers never do; she didn’t go on and bore the audience to death for 15 minutes with tomes of material they’d pre-visualised in their minds as all being brilliant and being in a total bubble when doing it completely unaware of how much they are literally boring the audience to death. To be clear too many do it (BECAUSE I DID IT MY FIRST TIME) but she didn’t!!! she kept it lovely, short and sweet with a piece where she was comparing Monica Lewinsky scandal to the modern UK political landscape, as you’d expect her nerves showed but we all start off somewhere. Top marks for effort. Chris Shaw local guy from Shrewsbury was next who is a nice guy off stage and really enthusiastic but I will be blunt about him as well and say sorry but it’s just a incomprehensible miss mass hodge podge of loopy ideas with absolutely no structure or focus as it stands. He has informed me that he is going to do a comedy course and that’s for the better because my honest advice to him is that his current approach is not working , so start again from scratch and try going for a much more straight forward style and go from there. Final act of the night was Ben Powell who stepped into this gig at the last moment. Nice fella who has some really good material that’s very intelligent and very original and he’s got an absolutely killer call back near the end but he does needs better pacing and the material needs editing but lots of potential and will be booking him again.
Great gig to kick the year off, be nice if we could get this many punters in every mouth because the regulars get confused why it’s in one room one more and another the next. If the attendance varies like it currently always does then that just can’t be helped.