Teknicolour Smoof now only runs 2 (and a bit) gigs both of which are very successful and I neglect to write a review/report on any of them so this is the first one in a while. The Crown Inn, Oakengates is a monthly gig (every 2nd Tuesday expect August) which 9 months of the year has open spots & paid closers but twice a year in February and September has a professional weekend club standard headliner. The Swan, Forton runs 3 or 4 times a year (Fridays) and is a professional standard show and has been running for 4 years now. To start with it was getting about 35-40 punters and was in the venues smaller ‘wedding reception’ room but 4 shows ago it suddenly had 100 people buy tickets so it outgrew and moved into the venues main ‘dinning’ room area and since it’s moved into there the audiences have also really now come alive each time so it’s now a really good gig with an amazing audience each time.
It’s a professional standard show with compere, opening 20, 2x middle 10/15’s and half an hour from a weekend club standard headliner (all spots paid) and it’s down to jolly-old me to decide who to book each time. I would be lying if I didn’t bluntly confess (but I won’t name names because I’m not that much a cock) that in the last 4x shows 1x act of the 5 I booked did misfire and have a bad gig. It wasn’t their fault ever because comedy IS subjective and they were just not right for the room so were on a different ‘level’ to the audience that night. 3x times the middle 10’s & once the opening 20. This time I made no mis-judgements because all 5 of the acts I booked went down well and had an amazing gig. This time I had made my choices of whom to book based on the previous show but the headliner pulled out 4 days before so had to sort a replacement out and many perfectly worthy people applied but I chose the act who I thought would be best suited for it. An act who had headlined there once before but back in the old room days; on a red hot summer night with an audience of 20 and knew it would be better and different people this time.
I arrived at venue as usual to find the room was ready laid out and chairs in position. I then found out from landlady that only 40 tickets had been sold this time which is a sell out for the small room at The Crown on a Tuesday but here on a Friday was a big disappointment but nerveless she’d put it in the main dining room area anyway and moved everyone forward. As always I have to come and supply everything. Lights, pa, banners with rigs and cables etc. Also this show I had booked a middle spot who’s whole routine requires a screen of some kind (more on that later) so I had to bring and set the screen and projector up. I find it easier to do that first and THEN work the rest of the room around that and it’s a large space so there was no shortage of room for it at all. My boss and friend John Ellis from The Crown also came along to aid and have a night out. The venue is a restaurant, bar & bnb so most of the punters have meals in the other room before the show and it’s always them we are waiting for.
Finally I stop boring everyone with admin and get to the show itself but I have to be frank these days I like to leave judging acts themselves to comedy reviewers who aren’t comedians themselves as I know it’s subjective so all my views will be bias and what I think don’t count J. So I’ll talk about it from the audience’s reaction point of view with all of them and will end up breaking that rule and talking about one longer than the others as it’s clear which one is most my kind of thing ;p
Nick Clarke was the MC doing this gig for the fourth time and third time in this room (he’s always the compere the landlady keeps asking for) and though he had a little bit of a slow beginning with the audience pretty cold. He began digging at a lady on the front row who had the unusual job of working for a company that produces manuals for tanks. That looked to me to be a comedy cul-de-sac and she didn’t seem to comfortable being talked to. However he did quickly turn the tables by bringing in her other friends on the front row into it and this quickly set the rest of the audience off and he turned onto others but kept coming back to that party as it’s where the laughs were to be had the most in the situation. Also got some mileage out of a guy who called himself ‘shandy’ and what day of the week he went and collected his benefits. Once again did his job brilliantly well and after 10 minutes they were warm enough for the opening act. Monty Burns who I had come do an open 10 at The Crown about 2 years ago and totally steal the show that night and I later invited him back to headline it the following year. He is currently ripping up the weekend club gigs and after the previous show here he had come straight to my mind as one who’d work a treat at injecting energy into the room early on here. I was correct as he quickly began to ‘initially’ polarize the room with very edgy material on some dark subjects which was a risk this early in the night but his energy, persona and slick delivery means he pulled it off and quickly pulled in more & more of the audience on board with him as he went. His stuff about a Jihad James Bond is the highlight set for me because you can’t see where he is going with it and a lot of shock value for audience. Brilliant act and a top bloke off stage too, book him.
After first break we began the second part of the show and this is where we get the 2x middles where I start playing it ‘a bit’ less safe with someone newer but who’s already polished & slick and a total wildcard act. Nick Clarke did another 15 minutes playing with the people on the front row who tried to constantly tell a story about dressing like Arabs at a party that didn’t really go anywhere and Nick brilliantly able to keep the show moving despite this. Harvey Hawkins was next up and who’s a new act going places now he has found his voice since the very early days. He was a dead-pan one liner act but he’s dropped it gone to a more ‘straight forward’ delivery and turned them into short stories and though his first story has a really long build up you still stay with him trying to work out where’s he’s going with it and then BOOM the punch line hits totally out of left-field; very unpredictable and he was off. He had the room in stitches for the next 8 minutes or so. Such professional & slick delivery he’s really one to look out for now.
Next up it’s time for the wildcard; Laura Monmoth one of my closet comrades on the circuit it has to be said. She has totally found her voice now and I describe her act as transgender Dave Gorman as it’s entirely screen based and also quite similar in style. There was a technical hiccup with her laptop setting itself from PowerPoint back to the desktop but she glided over this doing material whilst she got it back again and launched into the best stuff from her Edinburgh show I.E the none-computer games accessible stuff and she very quickly won the crowd over with photo gags about an app for guessing random audience members ages, West Bromwich & knife bins. Some groans for the puns as to be expected before getting to her signature ‘Facebook Bohemian Rhapsody’ bit which if you haven’t seen just book her to do it as your gig. This part split the room clean down the middle here with either tears of laughter or stone faces (But I like that, it’s a good thing ;p).
Final break before the headliner and the point where you always loose ‘some’ audiences members at 9 out of 10 gigs but not tonight as they came back from the bar to enjoy a headline set from Andy White who as you would expect is at that higher professional level some of us can only dream of reaching where he has the audience round his finger for the entire half an hour. A true professional with the waves of laughter come hard & fast from the audience throughout. I won’t give too much of his material away but no-matter how many times I hear it his Nelson Mandela breaking out of prison bit still totally cracks me up. I will also say brilliant fourth wall breaking when one of the audience member tried to join in “Yeah I know it’s weird TV Show and I’ve got some pre-rehearsed material on it. That was a gateway into it you see”. (You had to be there)
Feedback from punters was amazing ‘’best one yet,. They were all good!’’ so waiting on a date for the next show from landlady early next week. So I can get some people booked in for it. Who I choose for it next time? Hmmm I’m the judge, jury and executioner here and I only got 4/5 4x times a row. Finally 5/5 this time so pressure is on me now. Watch this space.