Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Comedy nights

Garden full of flowersI've been wandering about town recently taking summery pictures of flowers, trees and gardens. This one is a garden in the road next to ours.

I went to a gig on Monday night: the not-very-famous comedian Richard Herring. He's actually been a comic for a long time, but never quite broken into the big time. He has a blog, and a podcast that he does together with Andrew Collins, a not-very-famous writer and broadcaster.

It was at a local pub that has a reputation, whether deserved or not, for attracting a very young clientele - I would never have gone there if the gig hadn't been taking place. It was a hot day on Monday, and the pub smelled pretty horrible, but luckily we were downstairs in the cellar where it was cooler and less smelly. Mr A didn't come with me, because he rightly thought it would go on very late, and he had an early start the next day.

It's a regular comedy night where new and upcoming acts have the opportunity to learn their trade and practise new material, so there were three short acts along with the compere in the first half, and then another short act before Richard Herring came on. It was a very small venue, and inexperienced performers, but I was surprisingly well entertained. Nobody bombed, and a couple of them were quite good.

It was interesting to see emerging comedic technique so blatantly on display; they were truly learning their art. The compere used members of the audience for his material, asking questions and involving people directly, which worked only some of the time. Two of the acts read their jokes from clipboards, and it really wasn't a problem. I didn't find one of them so funny; he kept using disability for comedic effect, but the rest of the audience didn't seem to mind. One wasn't using notes, but had a prompt written on her hand as a kick start when she lost the thread at one point. Two of them recorded their sets - not such a bad idea. There was only one I didn't actually find funny at all, but he managed to maintain my interest in his stories, he just didn't make me laugh.

Richard Herring was obviously head and shoulders above the other acts, he's a professional. He did a good set, and I didn't time it, but it must have been less than an hour. What a life - driving around the country, in this case about two hours each way, for such a short time on stage. And then having to talk to local idiots from the audience afterwards who think they're funny, which in this case included me. Poor man, he suffers for his Art.

One of the subjects he covered was Leamington Spa itself - always a good idea, talk about the place where your audience live. What had attracted his notice was that, as he arrived, there were ducks walking in the road. This is the sort of thing that warms my heart and makes me glad to be a resident (this is becoming the strong theme of the summer). I know that London is a happenin' place and Lola II has told me often enough that it's great living there, and Richard would probably agree with her. He didn't exactly ridicule the kind of town where ducks take the place of traffic, but I got the feeling that if he hadn't actually been here, he might have.

More comedy last night when we watched the DVD of Run Fatboy Run, from Simon Pegg, who previously brought us the classics Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It was great, although I had to brace myself for the necessary sugary Hollywood ending. At least it didn't finish with a wedding.


travelling, but not in love said...

Sounds like a good fun evening...Have you ever been to the Glee Club in Birmingham? They have great comedy there, and a mix of well-known faces and new talent.

And I like Leamington Spa - one of the companies I used to work for had their HQ there.

Curiously, in the 80's and 90's Leamington was known as the abortion capital of the UK - more clinics than anywhere else at the time. Odd.

Richard Madeley said...

I was going to watch that and now you've ruined the ending!

Gutted, Lola, I'm gutted...

Ian said...

You, my dear, are living the good life: smelly pubs, beer (you didn't actually mention beer but I'm assuming since it is a pub...) and comedy. I am truly envious.

I've got Run Fatboy Run sitting atop my TV now and I'm still going to watch it this weekend despite your spoiler. Good to hear that there's no wedding at the end.

Swearing Mother said...

Lola, do me a favour when you're out and about with your camera? Fancy taking a pic of the church at Whitnash and the lane that goes up to the railway bridge?

I spent many happy days hanging over that bridge (it used to be call black bridge but they've painted it a weird colour now), spitting at passing trains and putting pennies on the line so that the train could flatten them.

What? Was that wrong?

Lovely Leamington. Ah.

Swearing Mother said...

I hasten to add, I was only nine at the time.

Lola said...

Never been to the Glee Club - I tend to go places because of who's doing the gig. I've never been a regular at a comedy club.

Abortion capital - I didn't know that. One of our friends delights in telling us that one year Leamington was top of the league for murders (per capita population) because there had been two.

RM and Ian: I haven't spoiled the ending by telling you what doesn't happen, have I? Because I could also tell you that there is no strawberry cheesecake, nor is there a nun dressed in leather.

I'll take a walk out to Whitnash one day this summer, SM, and see what I can do for you.