Future History Of Comedy

Went to the Future History Of Comedy last night. I’m not going to write about it here, because this is what I would have said.

That post by Andy subsequently got made friends-only, so I’ve republished it here to save you dragging it off archive.org:

Went to a student-run comedy night last night on the promise of seeing Matt in the Hat do some open mic. It was surprisingly good, given that it had the potential to be utterly awful. Only one of the acts was genuinely excrutiating, a girl called Narin who didn’t actually appear to have written anything at all. She basically apologised for her last stand up routine ‘being all about sex’ then went on about how she never got sex because she moaned too much. then went on some obscure tangent about a picture of Clint Eastwood in a Semiotics lecturer and how her lecturer was gay (i think i’ve had that lecture). Anyway she elicited nary a titter.

The other acts were surprisingly good. The compere Barry Pigeon had a confident, if studied, delivery, lots of shouting and swearing and recurring jokes which worked well. The lead balloon/genuinely funny ratio was about 50/50 which is pretty good, and he didn’t let the clanging silence after the shit jokes put him off.

Then there was some guy who’s name i’ve forgotten but who had a pony tail, who wisely tailored his routine to the crowd. “We’re all Students right? That means we like to get DRUNK” kind of thing but managing to be genuinely funny a good portion of the time. A drama student, his obvious confidence helped him through a lot of joke-free waffle between gags. His routine about the Ship and Castle was laboured and lampooning students for talking about thundercats is nothing new, it went down a storm but then i guess the freshers in the audience probably hadn’t heard that kind of thing before.

Next was someone (i think) called Anton, who got talked over a lot so a lot of what he said was lost on me. He talked about cats and cheese and seemed to go down well. He had a very intimidating dark manner, standing very still but he allowed his pose to go a few times by chuckling along with the audience.

Then came an open mic section which Matt apparently decided not to bother with. It began with a guy called Liam who was probably the best of the night. though i can’t really remember much of what he said. routines about circumcision and not being able to dance. He was the most consistently funny but still suffered from nerves when a joke didn’t go down well, and had a touch of waffle about it.

The final act was Goatboy, which was a dramatic two-man sketch show featuring pony-tail guy, and another man who i took an instant dislike to because he was wearing a t-shirt which said ‘Your mum!’. They were good, very much in a League of Gentlemen vein. One sketch in which a man tries to contact his dead mother via a medium and apparently ends up talking to Mr T. Finishing off with a skit in which two monks allude darkly to ‘the curse we do not speak of’ (it turns out to be being gay with each other).

As a night designed to give wannabe student comedians a chance to perform amongst a crowd it was excellent. There were long spells with crap jokes and no jokes but when they hit the mark they were all genuinely good, and surely the point of the exercise is to let them see how different jokes and routines go down. Whether it merits a fortnightly slot remains to be seen. A non-professional comedy night with inexperienced performers relies heavily on the goodwill of the audience, which might not last. Some people last night clearly lost interest and talked through pretty much the whole night (fuck off downstairs if yr not gonna listen) and the danger of this happening will increase as the novelty wears off. The promise of different performers at each night is good but some consistency is likely to bring back casual punters (such as myself) and will give them a chance to build on what they’ve done.

Overall good. I’ve always wished i could do stand up, I’m pretty sure of my ability to make a room full of people laugh as part of a conversation but the moment i start trying to think of what i would say onstage with a mic in my hand i draw a blank. maybe i’ll try and chuck something together for the next one.