Haven’t blogged one of our gigs in far too long. I’d love to get Peter Fox (Nots comedy reviewer) to one of these nights, get a review from a less unbiased non comedian set of eyes. So anyway here we go as tonight we had quite possibly the greatest night of comedy at The Crown Inn in all the years we’ve been running it since 2012! Well maybe not the single strongest line up of acts but the biggest audience turnout ever as this was official first time we’d declared it a sell out! with every single possible seat we could bring into the room sat on (and 2 standing and 2 more watching it ‘THOUGH’ the bar from the other room!) prior to the show I did my usual thing of pacing up and down with acts on route stuck in traffic meaning by 8:30pm and the audience more than ready to start we had to run with what we’d got.
Nick Clarke took to the stage and really don’t have to say too much as I cannot praise him enough. Comedy can be a getting the right shaped pegs into the right shaped holes sometimes and he’s just become the dream compere for this gig a square peg in a square hole I don’t know how it does it or what his magic formula is but he ripped into a bunch of people coming for a works night out who turned out to work for the taxman, the banter and laugher from ripping with them was obviously organic, he loosened everyone up more by bringing people onto the stage for a sing a long of Morecombe & Wises ‘Bring me sunshine’. First 10 spot of the night came from Sarah Airey who is going though so much in her life and is such a sweet person I’ll go back to my holes in holes analogy here. She needs the right dynamic so round peg, square hole and to quote landlord John Ellis ”Just wasn’t her audience but put her as a warm up at a Sarah McMillan gig and she’d have a blast” I got to say he put that better than I ever could. So some more razor sharp organic compering from nick followed and next it was Colin Harris (& Me) who have been resident new material every month this year (save july/aug) I give him a theme (I use a online random subject generator) and he had ‘swimming’ and because it’s always new and has never been performed before it is extremely hit and miss and twice has it turned out to been very good throughout tonight; the first time that happened was back in January and the second time was last night so it proved a book ended gold mime for him the year. Roger Swift directly followed with his clipboard and tried 2 minutes of his usual ‘bad pun’ ‘popular culture based; one liners (only one with a prop this time) (I had another prop one but forgot to do it oops) I also have this random ‘mini casetteboy’ audio cut up line I’ve been trying out and it’s always been getting a big laugh despite the sheer lack of context I’ve yet been able to find to put in it but got a big laugh again here. The one liners themselves nearly ticks again tonight (it’s more about the rhythm and delivery with my standard set it’s working this new stuff into it always). The original plan was for another act but with it being a full room and thus being so hot and sticky we had to call a break at this point and re-jig the rest of the night.
Monty Burns opened the middle section and ‘show stealer’ is a total understatement he was high energy with lots of punch lines that was PERFECT for the audience and room tonight very assessable flawlessly executed observational material about his family and trivials of his daily life, given I’ve done so many gigs in so many different atmospheres can still totally imagine gigs where this wouldn’t go so well but here it was perfect. Landlord and a few of the punters who spoke to me afterwards all said they wanted him back (so did I) already booked him to come back and headline next year. Next up was a sketch troupe Frasco Fools now sketch troupes aren’t ever collectives of traditional stand ups their comprised of actors; not saying that is bad just stating how it works because it just means they aren’t always common currency to book like traditional stand ups are and I really like having the sketch troupes at comedy nights because they are such a refreshing alternative to put on in the middle of normal stand ups but I’ve still seen some of them perform to silence in the past but not tonight. 3 ‘word’ perfect and completely different comedy sketches with well timed punch lines throughout and suburb acting, one about toffs and northerners one about health & safety and one about a Yorkshire family having a argument whilst having a brew., highlight for me though was still right at the start when one of them said she needed to do a vocal warm up and screamed into someone on the front tables face. No microphones meant I couldn’t hear it all properly from the corridor outside but watched the recording back and it’s a huge thumbs up from me, would like to put them in a middle spot at my pro standard bill see how it play out in that environment but will be booking them again for this gig and next year if I can. One of our regular punters even commented on his face book that’d enjoyed that sketch comedy surprise. Dean Mavros who has twice in past ‘just piped’ me into 2nd place at gong shows further up north (not that I’m bitter ;p) he reminds me of a northern Graham Milton in that he’s got extremely crafted intelligent material that flows so brilliantly, punctuated with the call-backs, he’s delivery is very slow and paced (matches the material subjects) magic with the right audience and he too had a good gig here tonight.
Final section with the show running very overtime and very late. Wish I had more powers to control the breaks more to keep them exactly 10 minutes each time (but it’s not my pub) penultimate act is a guy called Tim Hoskins a new act from Tewksbury (he came with headliner who followed).. this is an act I really didn’t know what to make of it, if my opinion was a jury than the juries out on this one. It was like a series of sketches with different characters (different accents) as far as I could tell it was certainly different but really needs a lot of work. I just felt that rob halden of juice comedy (who is a master writer/workshopper) he could really do something with this guys ideas. I’d book him again tho as I’d be interested to see how it develops because he’s got some really out-of-the-box concepts here but needs a lot of focus. Jon Wagstaffe finally took the stage for his headline set at 10:50pm and the audience were hot and tired by this point but he delivered the goods with a bang as he does. High energy story telling (much like Monty burns earlier) with flawless interflowing crowd work and a solid 25 minute ‘club’ set because wag is a club comic though and though, not saying that’s a bad thing just he’s perfectly suited for the weekend comedy club gigs. He managed to get out his note book on the fly and throw in some shreds of new material about fishing because wag is a club style comic even his new material ideas are always pretty fully formed and barely need tweaking at all.
Late night that went on too long but audience loved it and I think it was one of the best nights we’ve ever had at the gig. Next month is our massive Christmas special show with everyone from the year who had good gigs crammed into one show! Hoping this sell outs again and with every act on the bill being good with the atmosphere we got at this one it’ll be the best night ever! fingers crossed