Friday 25th October 2013 – Hen and Chicken, Bristol

Eggstremely Good Comedy!

John Robins (MC) (No Jobs In HR), Allyson Smith (Mossy Anthill), Mark Smith (Mask Mirth), David Whitney (Whity Invaded)

After dithering for a couple of days (over the distance/petrol, costs and time issues) Dave decided that we SHOULD make the trip to Bristol for the Hen and Chicken’s Comedy Box.

After dashing straight home from work at 5pm, a snatched sandwich at home and a two hour drive up the motorway later, we were settled in the bar at the Hen and Chicken in Southville, Bristol to await door opening time for the upstairs venue that is the Comedy Box.

Once upstairs, for the first time since we’ve been going to the Hen and Chicken, there were tables set up instead of the usual rows of seating. We were directed to a front centre one, and a few minutes later we found ourselves sharing with two guys, one local and his mate from Derby with whom we had a chat before the show started…

At just after 9pm the show kicked off with our MC John Robins. John is a natural comic, effortlessly adlibbing off his audience. Unusually, Dave was one of his first victims, much to my amusement. Then a twenty-four year old hockey player was ribbed for his sport being “for girls”…and his dad, a salesman for a Dutch energy company (whose name sounded very rude) also took a fair bit of stick. Nobody gets offended with John, he is far too likeable for that. It’s hard to describe just how well he puts his act over; funny, clever and quick thinking, we like him a lot. We saw his 2012 Edinburgh Show and will be looking forward to seeing his latest acclaimed offering when he tours in early 2014.

Onwards to our opener Allyson Smith, a dark haired Canadian who now resides in Manchester. Her experiences of language barriers and phone stealers (who apologised for bumping into her – “sorry love!” as they made off with her phone) made for much hilarity. Along with the jokes, Allyson also claimed that she could sign, and gave us funny impersonations of wobbly voiced “pop stars”. It would have been nice if she had finished off with a good belter of her own….maybe next time?

Onto a break, a little more from John and onto our next section…

Our middle act, Mark Smith, laid claim to having a very boring name which he thought he would change to Winston…till challenged by a past punter who said only black guys were named Winston, seemingly forgetting a very important British prime minister! Mark had card tricks, call backs and all in all is a comedian worthy of the name, plain though he might think it is! (We saw Mark do his hour show in Edinburgh and most of tonights material was drawn from that – we were not overly impressed in Edinburgh but it is difficult to fill an hour and the highlights tonight worked fantastically well in a club setting – Dave)

After another break we were onto our headliner David Whitney. We have seen David twice before; the first time in August 2012 at Late ‘n’ Live in Edinburgh where, despite his best efforts, he was almost drowned out by crowds of rowdy, drunken students. We saw his whole set but afterwards this was a show we gave up on and eventually walked out…we had paid good money but it wasn’t a “show” it was crowd control…not the comedians’ faults, more the venue for not bouncing the noisy ones straight out of the door!

The second time we saw David was indeed in the Hen and Chicken last December…I’d remembered him right away but struggled to recall the previous venue, which Dave came up with after a bit of headscratching.

Mr Whitney, looked tanned, confident and chilled bounced onto stage in a black suit jacket and smart white shirt, but with a dark blue chino bottom half…a fact which he pointed out to us if we hadn’t noticed it before. David delivers his act well, (he is indeed an actor, having been in several film and tv productions and it comes across in his set) he does a good line in clever smut amongst plenty of other material, and is a top class headlining act…nice to see the development from Edinburgh.


David and John after the gig.


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