26th May 2013 – Bedford Hotel Tavistock

MC Nicola Wilkinson (In-law Colin Oinks), Opener Susan Murray (Rays Anus Rum), Middles Will Scambler (Wall Climbers) & Tom Glover (MOT Grovel), Headliner Javier Jarquin (Quin Jiver Ajar)

This was the second month of this new gig in Tavistock and our first visit. But before we get to the gig here I want to mention another gig in the area which has sadly ended. We have been regular attendees at the Leaping Salmon in Horrabridge for over a year and found out this week that the gig and indeed the pub are no more. This was our favourite gig. A really welcoming friendly place, with great beer and food, and a landlord in Shaun who gave it his all. But with a fourth rent increase in a year, even he couldn’t keep it afloat. A real shame and I am sure many others will be with us in wishing Shaun all the best for the future. We had some amazing nights of comedy there.

And so to this new night, in the quite posh Bedford Hotel, with a quite posh crowd, including some young children. Not what you expect to see at an adult comedy night. This night, five miles from the Leaping Salmon, has stolen the Salmon’s format. Curry and comedy. The difference being that the posher Bedford charges an almost extortionate £15 compared the £10 at the Salmon. What extra do you get for this? Nothing. Lots of people were saying the food was not that great. The comedy itself was an identical format, like the Salmon, using Mirth Control as its booker. Exactly the same setup of MC, opener, two open spot middles and a headliner. We were intrigued to see what we were going to get for the money. It is worth noting that on their first night a month ago they were advertising a headliner ‘seen on TV’, something that did not happen. We rang up to find out who was on then, and the receptionist said they did not know who was on yet (a few days before), but they were expecting it to be Jethro. Get real, you don’t get Jethro for a £120 headliner fee. In the end, we chose another gig closer to home and from what we heard from people who were there, we were glad we did.

We knew tonight’s line-up well having seen them all before except Tom Glover. Actually the advertised line-up had Johnny Kats who was replaced on the day by Susan Murray.

Both Susan and tonight’s MC Nicola Wilkinson had only been seen by us 10 days previous at a horrid gig at Annabels in Plymouth. See my blog entry for more details. On that night they were stymied by a truly weird crowd. Tonight we got to see what they could do in front of a respectful audience.

Nicola is a straightforward as MC and does not do a huge amount of material herself. What she does is very good, playing on her hometown of Hull and its 101 fish and chip shops. And her tale of internet dating was also good with her screen name of Chipmuncher and the attentions that brought from Fishymike.

Susan Murray also got to perform properly tonight and put in a good 20 minutes. She seemed a bit thrown by the children in the crowd but she got over it and threw in a C* -bomb which caused a couple of ‘ladies’ sat in front of us to gasp in horror. We liked her bits on the Khymer Rouge and ADHD in particular.

Will Scambler was another we had seen quite recently, a month to the day ago, at what turned out to be the last Leaping Salmon comedy night. Will was really good that night and he followed up with another excellent showing. What impressed us tonight was that he had the confidence to open with some fine ad-libbing about the venue, and a mention of his previous days gig at Volksfest in the scumhole of Plymouth compared to poshville Tavistock. The rest of the set was as we have seen before with his hilarious tale of his Nandos date being a grandstand finish.

Next up, Tom Glover, the only face we had not seen before. He did really well with the crowd. We were sat next to a couple of Swedes who were on a weekend break in Cornwall and they thought he was really good, as did we. Tom is from Dorset, but was a student at Plymouth University for three years and some of his set referred to this. Other bits that went well were his tale of Sun £9.50 holidays and fancy dress hen and stag dos in Newquay. Throw in him catching his Gran reading 50 Shades of Gray and allotment wars and a short but sweet set came to an end.

Finally our headliner, our third Kiwi of the week and a man we have now seen five times in London, Totnes, Edinburgh, Bristol and now Tavistock – the rather good Javier Jarquin. We first saw him with his amazing Card Ninja show which has to be seen to be believed. But now he is concentrating on stand-up and will be at the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh this August at the Fringe. Javier’s standup covers a lot of topics, and with his mixed race background he can go in some interesting directions on the subject of ethnicity and making comparisons to British culture. Particularly good is his comparison of the animosity between Australians and New Zealanders with that of the Serbs and Croats. He hits at the BBC paedophiles in a novel way. Takes a swipe at the British for the madness that ensues when we get a (rare) bit of sun. He also makes a really nicely made swipe at Nike for their sporting sponsorship choices. Another great set from Javier, where will we see him next?

Overall, comedy – great, venue – not so sure.


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