27th July 2013 – Hotel Victoria, Newquay

Idiots won Rest of crowd lost

Anagrams: James  Redmond – Mended Majors, Matt Holmes – Metal Moths, Rob Coleman – Amber Colon, Garrie Grubb – Briar Bugger, Alexander Henry  Buchanan-Dunlop – A Nonexpendable Lunch And A Hurry, Graham Wilde – Glam Rawhide, Omar Hamdi – A Hmmaroid,  JoJo Georgiou – I go jog, our Joe

I spotted this night a couple of weeks ago and immediately booked tickets. I sent Carole a proud text saying I had done so and we were off for a trip to Newquay. The reply came back just as fast informing me I had forgotten she was doing a midnight walk for a local charity that night. S*&%! I umm’ed and ah’ed about going and failed to persuade anyone else to go. And decided on the Friday I was not going to bother, only to be told to go by Carole with a couple of hours to the start. So off I went for the 45 mile drive to Newquay, which was straightforward apart from parking at the other end. After saying hi to Omar Hamdi I took a seat opposite an older couple and started chatting to them only to be moved by some geezer in a suit to make way for a bunch of youngsters. No problem I moved a few seats down and started chatting to another interesting older local couple. And waited for the show to start, which it did pretty much spot on the advertised start time. Very impressed with the organisation and set up. It turned out the geezer who moved me was no other than Stephen Watson promoter and director of The Laughing Pod based in Essex, who had made a foray down west. A brave move as traditionally comedy nights in Cornwall have gone down like a lead balloon unlike their counterparts across the Tamar.

After Stephen did a bit of admin, we were introduced to our MC for the night Matt Holmes, originally a local lad from Fowey. He did an excellent job all night despite what turned out to be an awkward crowd. A hen night in Hawaiian garb were to disrespect the rest of the room and treat it as their own night, heckling at will, and talking over the top of things all night. Talking to Matt afterwards it turns out we will be seeing him at Edinburgh as part of the Big Value Lunchtime show at Just the Tonic. I will look forward to seeing him with a hopefully better crowd.

Our first section had three acts each doing 10-12 minutes. Opened by our friend Omar Hamdi, here to sharpen up his material prior to his Edinburgh debut. Alas, tonight he was to be thwarted by the non-stop talking idiots and could garner little momentum. At one point he stopped to put a vote to the crowd whether to carry on doing material or switch to hen-do bashing. And this was a sign of what was to be the theme of the evening. Stop start comedy because of a bunch of idiots. Omar was replaced by character comedian Alexander Henry Buchanan-Dunlop who was playing an upper class twit from Eton. He struggled a bit with this crowd and we will look forward to seeing his act in a proper setting. Finally in the first section came JoJo GeorGiou a brash Texan. ‘We hunt vegetarians for fun’ was the line that sticks with me and I don’t think Carole would have let that lie had she been there. She was very loud and confident and definitely stole the opening section and took control of the crowd in a way no-one else managed tonight. Good MC material I think.

As well as the hen-do to my left, I had to contend with a table a few feet to my left talking continuously through things as well as another behind me. So during the first interval I moved well out of earshot and found a nice view towards the back. This was a good move from my perspective. I rang Carole during this break as she prepared for the start of her walk and said I wished I had stayed at home. I was to change my opinion as the night went on and a real joy of tonight was that of 8 acts on the bill I had seen only 2 before.

The second section started strongly with Garrie Grubb, who had a different style to most guys on the circuit and broke his set down into a number of sections including jokes, true life stories, educational jokes and shit jokes, finally giving us bonus jokes. A number of his jokes were as corny as hell but I liked him a lot, definitely my favourite act of the night. Up next was Rob Coleman, the only other guy on tonight’s bill I had seen before, at Plymouth Ski Lodge over a year ago. That night he played to a virtually empty crowd but we enjoyed him. Tonight he was just as good, again making fun of his own hair. A series of clever puns, sexism and a great gag about sending children up chimneys. Finally, came a guy called Greg Wilde, who started with some audience interaction, then went into a very long and gross story about putting things up his arse and BT broadband. As this got grosser and grosser I really enjoyed seeing how the crowd were squirming. Not sure he got many laughs, other than nervous ones, more groans of disgust.

A final break, then our headliner James Redmond, star of Hollyoaks and Casualty, and his material reflected his TV career, with copious z-list name droppings. He had trouble at the start with the crowd talking and diffused this with a couple of smart put downs. He did get one decent heckle when he talked about the initiation for Hollyoaks and someone shouted out ‘bum rape’ but this was to be a high point from an extremely irritating audience. As with nearly every other instance it is only a few members of the audience who ruin things for everyone else. I digress, James continued with some material about a French girlfriend that was good and then spent the rest of his set concentrating on his thick mate Barry. This was good material and at the end everyone was happy. I think we all were when half-way through James’ set the most annoying members of the hen-do suddenly left, it was a shame they had not left about three hours earlier.

To summarise, this was far from a perfect night, one other negative was that the large room had a bar that was open to residents, so a number of people were in and talking at the bar, who had not paid for the comedy and had no interest. These negatives were far outweighed by the positives. The promoter did a fantastic job of getting a really diverse bunch of acts together. And this was BY FAR the best night of club comedy I have ever been to in Cornwall. This has the potential to go from strength to strength and make a real name for itself, the difficulty will be in getting a core local audience who aren’t put off by a bunch of idiots trying to claim the night for themselves.

Dave.

HPIM1917

James Redmond

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