Plymouth Comedy Avengers – Anagrams David Arnold – Or Did Vandal, Richard James – Jedi Harms Car, Richard Hilliard – Darrill Hid Chair, Luke O’Neill – EEk! Uni Loll, Jack Denman – DJ Anne Mack, Omar Hamdi – O Mardi Ham.
Yet another hot day and another hot venue, but sitting near the open door helped and we got our drinks in, made ourselves comfortable (Dave even took his shoes off and settled on the settle with his feet up!) and waited to be entertained. With seven acts including the MC, (but sadly no ladies included tonight!) we were wondering if anything could outdo the ace comedy of the last two nights in Bristol and Derriford.
Our MC was (the well known to us by now) cheeky chappy David Arnold. Looking ultra bright in a jazzy t-shirt he gave us an update on his recent engagement and ring buying exploits; later he also got big laughs on a story about how not to mess with Soho ladies of the night…all new material to us so well done as when your audience have seen you as many times as we’ve seen the wee Welsh Wizard, it can be difficult to keep coming up with fresh lines.
Richard James, another young comedian who we saw at the last Comedy Avengers gig, also came up with a whole different set from last time. Themed around names it was full of silliness and ridiculousness (but in a good way!) and we enjoyed it immensely. Richard is growing in confidence and it was nice to see him leave the snooker suit behind!
Last up before the break was the young Scotsman Sean McHaffie. We’ve seen Sean twice before, both times at the B-Bar just around the corner from the Maritime; I’m sorry to say that we were slightly less than impressed both times, however these gigs had been several months ago and we were hoping for better things. Sean’s material and delivery wasn’t for us then, but everyone improves with practice and everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately Sean’s still not right for us, but several audience members seemed to be enjoying it. In my view Sean’s material seems to consist of barbed short jokes and one liners, with a dark undercurrent of Frankie Boyle style nastiness, but without the occasional flash of funniness that Frankie can still sometimes provide. Sean is a fellow Scot; and so I really want to like his act…I just can’t get there!
And so to the break, and after that we were introduced to Richard Hilliard, a Cornishman from the Padstow area. In jeans with chain attachments, Richard likened himself to a gay biker, and had some funny material on incest, Cornwall, and some banter with another punter who Dave knew, when he called Saltash (our home town) the “middle of nowhere”. He came across as confident and the audience liked him as did we.
Luke O’Neill was our next act. We had seen him before in March at the Ski Lodge and he was full of promise then. Luke has certainly developed both his material and his delivery, poking fun at the Scots, teenagers and a girlfriend’s lack of knowledge about Star Wars. Do not get into a argument with Luke about the finer points of the Star Wars epics as the Force is strong in this young man and you will not win!
On to our closing act in the middle section and here comes Jack Denman, a sporty, Al Murray accented lad in heat beating shorts and with plenty of material on football, rugby (do you lift front or back?) and we had a bit of audience interaction from bemused punters who needed a bit more detail. His material was laddish, but not too laddish and there were plenty of women in the audience who were enjoying his act.
Our second break and then onto our headliner Omar Hamdi. Again we have seen Omar several times. The last time we saw him he was previewing and practising his Edinburgh show and this night seemed more about fine tuning. A lot of the material he had been trialling out just a few short weeks ago had gone and new sections had been written in. Introductions to himself and his background were similar but with several audience members feeling confident enough to heckle, he had to hand back a few heckles himself before we got started, but it was all done so nicely and with absolutely no offence taken by the audience we were able to get on with the material fairly quickly. Omar had made it quite clear after his initial intro that he would be reading from notes because he was still in preparation for the Fringe and needed the audience to help him out…and everybody was up for it.
Lines on evolution, sex equality and who makes a good female role model went down well. Also some material on class differences (class jokes always go down well, especially if it’s the toffs who are being the fall guys) and lots of stuff on racism which raised more comments from our Saltash punter again…he was comedy gold and Omar invited him along for the forseeable to help him out!
Every time we have seen Omar he has won over the audience with his natural and confident delivery style. He’s a funny guy and he’s going up to Edinburgh with a good show tucked inside his head (I was going to say tucked under his belt, but that might have been read wrongly!) and we wish him all the best. Go see him!
Jack, Richard H, Sean, Luke, David, Richard J, Omar