January 17th – Annabels, Plymouth – “A New Year Begins – at last”

Jamie Bowen.Toby Brown. Danny Hurst.

Headliner Jamie Bowen, Opener Toby Brown, MC Danny Hurst or in anagram form ‘I wee nob jam’, ‘Now try Bob’ and ‘Shandy Runt / Randy Shunt’

We finally got to go to our first gig of the year.  We received a text telling us our first one was cancelled less than two hours before it was due to start. We live in Cornwall (though only 5 miles from Plymouth), but went away for our first ever foreign holiday over Christmas and New Year flying back to Gatwick on 2nd January. Before we went I booked tickets for ‘You Must Be Stoking’ in Guildford, to start at 7:30 with our flight getting into Gatwick at 5:50. We were pleased when our flight made it on time but then had a ridiculous delay while they screwed up the luggage, so we actually would have made it to the venue at 7:50 possibly missing the start if it was right on time, but no matter it was cancelled anyway. Having fallen foul of cancellations before, we got our money back for the tickets, but not the booking fee. Which pisses us off when the cancellation is not our fault. Adding the cost of Travelodge in Guildofrd it was a more expensive non-gig than ever. Our second gig of the year was due to be at Plymouth B-Bar on 9th January, but this fell foul of Carole’s new rule for this year, The First Law Of Gigging For Ppunters, which states that “You must not attend a gig where you have seen over half the acts within the last 6 months”. I do have some latitude here i.e. if I really, really want to go, and I am paying, I will ignore the rules. As it was we had seen the four acts over 20 times combined within the last year. It still hurt sitting at home that night.

So finally, the 17th comes and we get to see some live comedy. The evening started with me getting fairly smashed on a bottle and a bit of Rioja at a lovely meal at the Chancel restaurant (highly recommended) and a pop in to say hi at The B-bar to be told we missed a good night the week before. We then popped along to Annabels, just before opening time, so we could go for a drink at the sister venue ‘The Vauxhall Quay’. As we approached Annabels, I spotted a forlorn looking figure stood outside. I said to Carole that I bet it was one of the comics not knowing there was another part to the venue. I then recognised him (from doing my homework) as being the headliner for the night, Kiwi comic Jamie Bowen, so I walked up to him and said ‘Hello, you must be Jamie’ which had the desired effect of freaking him out as he later mentioned on stage. Anyway, rather than leave him in the cold, we dragged him in the the other bar for a beer.

Eventually the gig came around. Annabels, starts later than any other regular gig we go to, and also finishes later, which being on a Thursday can cause problems with having to go to work on Friday (especially as I had several pints of Thatchers Gold to supplement the earlier Rioja).  MC Danny Hurst is a pleasant chap and puts the audience at ease, we have seen him in Plymouth before and he did exactly what he was supposed to do as MC. Opener Toby Brown was new to us and was confident and had some good lines. “Sausage meat and bigotry” being my favourite. We will look out for him again.

Then came the break and the joke competition. This always follows the ‘What is the difference between” {Insert name of celebrity in the news} and {Insert the name of a household appliance} – the two inserts being shouted out by the audience. We have won before but it tends to be won by a member of the largest group attending as they cheer louder for themselves! The competition tonight was ‘What is the difference between Lance Armstrong and a Washing machine?’ , Carole came up with our entry and we won despite the odds. So free tickets to next month. Winning answer “Nothing – they both need loading with powder before they can start their cycle”

And then onto our headliner, Jamie Bowen. who made a confident start and kept growing. His car routine tickled us especially as our room cleaner on holiday was called Mercedes. He finished with some nice wordplay about the circle of life and how it all revolves around boxes.

All in all a lovely start to the year. 4/5

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