At last…..at last…..live stand up comedy made a welcome return into my life again last night. I accompanied a fellow act to a venue on the other side of London where it was Covid 19 restricted, for example, only 20 people were allowed to watch instead of the usual 70.
It was an unusual pub, which had decor akin to the Queen Victoria pub in the BBC soap Eastenders. Some of the cocktail drinks were Eastender themed, one called Pat Butcher and one called Barbara Windsor. I suppose the Pat Butcher one would have made the drinker shout out “Paaaaaaaaaaaaaat” like the actor and comedian Mike Reid used to do in the show some years previous. Anyway, I digress.
It was a well organised evening, fast and furious with all acts limited to 5 minutes. There were three acts on the Zoom app as well, and I settled back to enjoy some decent comedy.
As always with comedy, there are exceptions to the usual excellent standard. Not everyone can cut the mustard. One particular gentleman’s subject area was highly questionable, very unfunny, and was greeted with silence throughout. He was also rather aggressive with a couple of audience members too. Not good. Thankfully the five minutes were up before he could inflict more pain on himself.
Trying to get the audience to like you with an aggressive approach can be doomed to failure, especially if the material is unfunny. And no matter how hard you try, it only gets worse. Plenty of lessons to be learned.
Another Covid 19 restriction was the lack of communication (cheering, whooping and whistling) from the audience. We could clap and no more than that. All for very good reason.
The act I supported did fine, and his subject area of autism and mental health struck a chord with me. Another act, a young African gentleman, was the top act of the night. Obtuse, clever humour and his gags hit the right spot. He seemed at home in front of an audience and it was no surprise; he presents a football programme on a satellite TV station. Confidence abounded. I really enjoyed his set.
So it was great to get back out there and have a watch. I was offered the chance, incidentally, to perform, but I declined as I’m a little rusty and need some time to prepare some material. On that note, I hope to be performing at a virtual gig next month, so that’ll give me something to aim for.
Excellent night, and good to travel in and around London for the first time in a very long time.
Yours in comedy…
Ian L. Fullbrook