MC Matthew Baylis (The Abysmal Wit), Opener Omar Hamdi (Hairdo Mam?), Headliner Sean Percival (Reveals Panic)
We didn’t enjoy last month’s Annabel’s, a big audience then but without any real hint that anyone was there for the comedy, laughs were sparse, and we left thoroughly disappointed despite sterling efforts from the comics themselves. So we did wait for quite a long time (for us) before deciding to come this month. Chris Purchase was the advertised opener but we had seen an SOS from Mirth a week before asking for an opener, so we knew he had pulled out, and we were pleasantly surprised to hear one of our favourite up and comers, Omar Hamdi spotting us and shouting our names as he and MC Matthew Baylis arrived. We like Omar as a person, always polite and enthusiastic about his craft, and never a bad word about anyone.
I digress! MC Matthew Baylis came on stage. The last time we saw him was at our late lamented Leaping Salmon gig in February. A lot of his material was the same, focusing largely on his being Upper Middle Class, having six children, and having found love again following being widowed a few years ago. We like his style, much more laid back than most MCs. He talked to the crowd and got everyone warmed nicely.
Internet dating came up, which was how Carole and I met. And his favourite heckle came up again involving a threesome. Very solid, but worryingly, a large portion of the audience were very quiet again like last month.
Omar Hamdi has already featured in one of these blogs recently. That night he was trying out new material and tonight a lot of that got another airing preparing for his upcoming Edinburgh stint. Some lovely stuff again about his culture, and being Welsh. And if he keeps focusing on this special niche he can go a long way. Not sure the Arab Spring bit works, large portions of the crowd again had no concept of what this meant, so maybe a bit of lead-in explanation would make this better. But this is a very minor quibble over what was another excellent set, his Maggie Thatcher / Wonga.com joke is great. His Israeli girlfriend, and racism are also themes we like, and the racism bit comes at it from a different angle to most comics doing the same thing.
A break then the joke competition, what is the difference between Stuart Hall and an iron? As always, the sickest offering wins when the drunk crowd cheers for the winner.
Another break then onto headliner Sean Percival, who we had not seen before. Started well with tales of Dudley from where he hails. And lots of disparate material on lots of subjects, no real theme running through it. Gay Contraception, attacks on Lenny Henry (fellow Dudleyite), Cosmetic Surgery, PPI type claims for operation Yew tree victims, Boy Bands and even the sport of curling featured. It started strongly, but midway through the set it seemed that a majority of the audience switched off, so laughs came slower and slower. And Sean paused longer and longer after delivering punchlines, expecting laughs, before moving on. Still, it is always nice for us to see someone new.
A muted crowd, and probably the smallest crowd we have had at Annabel’s. Had it not been for a couple of persistent hecklers, we would have called this another Stepford audience. A late start and late finish, does make this a little tedious for us at times. Oh, and finally, it is worth me saying a big fuck off to the total twat who was sat to the left of Carole and just behind her, who gave a non-stop running commentary to the night to his girlfriend, despite her telling him to shut the fuck up. We were forced to listen to him with one ear, while trying to focus on the comedy in front of us.
An OK night, barely, but we think we may be dropping it if it continues like the last couple of months. Especially with the prices having also gone up this month.
A particularly demonic looking Omar Hamdi, Sean Percival having an orgasm, and Matthew Baylis gingerly joining in even though his head is telling him he doesn’t do group hugs!