I love a good comedy night.
Having a laugh with your mates whilst some idiot makes a fool of themselves on the stage is one of the most rewarding past times anyone could have. To be fair to this night, the atmosphere started off well. Everyone seemed to be having a blast as they eagerly awaited the first guy to mark his presence. I think waiting for over an hour though was a BIT too long. That, or it was a clever scheme to get everyone as drunk as possible because being drunk means being contained in a zorbing ball of jokes. But hey ho, things happen.
After an hour, the first act came to the stage, entering with a half-drunk lager bottle in one hand and comedy genius nestled in the other. As soon as he started speaking, he got the crowd from the ‘go’ as an audience participation gag was met with explosive laughter. We found ourselves drawn to our feet and spread out our arms, just for his own hilarity. There is nothing better in comedy than that. He reminded me of an even more chilled out Jon Richardson (anyone who doesn’t know who that is go and check him out NOW). Between both of the headlining acts, his well-timed gags interwove with inventive audience participation and ignited raucous laughter at every sentence. His relaxed style felt as though you were talking to him at a bar. There was never a boring moment in the three times that he came on, because he was entertaining over and over again. If the evening had just been his comedy, I wouldn’t have minded.
The crowd were wild and drumming their feet as he introduced the first headline act to the stage, Romesh Ranganathan. I had heard of his comedy mastermind from a friend but didn’t believe it until he came to the stage. Gosh, I know I should have listened to him now. His sarcastic undertones hit chords with most of the audience and I in particular found myself laughing very hard at many of his jokes. He could be cutting at times, but this was well maintained by a thought out set done to perfection. The lack of crowd participation did not hinder the fact that his stories had many people rolling in fits of laughter as his inspiring set still kept the crowd hanging on every word.
Then, after the second headline act was introduced, the comedy went downhill. The set of the second headline act, Paul Chowdry started off as quite promising as he walked onto the stage, cool as a cucumber. He injected the husky tones of his voice into fairly funny initial jokes, which was complemented by his fairly good portrayal of different accents. But then after a few jokes, I started to see a major flaw. Ok, so race can sometimes be a bit funny but once someone overplays the card to the maximum degree possible, then the set becomes insulting and boring. I’m glad the audience members agreed with me when one woman told the guy how ‘she was bored’ which should have been enough for him to leave. A particularly blunderous gag about Ethiopians missing a bag of UN rice because they would never be able to use the five second rule went down like a swan tied to a lead anchor. It went down from here with the last half an hour appearing to show very little artistic ability as he blagged cheap laugh after cheap laugh. He even explained how he had talked for 45 minutes and I could believe it as I felt myself dozing off.
Verdict: All, in all it promised to be a good night and it did reach expectations, with the first act and Romesh Ranganathan showing great comic ability, but a slow start and a misjudged final act left me feeling slightly remorseful on the bus ride home.