Review of 2013

Just a few of our highs from 2013 – mostly in date order

January – Mike Wozniak – Work In Progress – Exeter Bikeshed

A work in progress show which turned into ‘Take the Hit’ which later earned a Fosters Best Show Nomination at Edinburgh. Part of a wonderful weekend at the Bikeshed.

February – WitTank – Exeter Phoenix

A show where I was picked on – A LOT – but a real treat. A criminally small crowd for such talented lads. We saw them a lot in Edinburgh too and ‘The School’ was also a real treat.

April – Pat Monahan – Bristol Hen & Chickens

We saw Pat more than any other act during 2013. He was fantastic every time, and no two shows were the same. This was special for being my 50th Birthday and having some fantastic friends with us too. Best part of two hours of brilliance.

May – Machynlleth Festival

Not a single show but an experience. Amazing from start to finish. The festival showcase was the best value show of the entire year. Life Drawing with Tom Parry was great fun. And the climax of the Festival with Nick Helm’s Greatest Hits crowned an amazing weekend. Nish Kumar was one of several punts and probably the most pleasant surprise, a lovely guy and great name for the future. Tom Parry was a constant feature of the weekend and the Pappys guys were wonderful.

July – Wardrobe Theatre Bristol – Mat Ewins & Jon Richardson

Two work in progress shows in a sweltering venue for a fiver and a magnificent night. Mat was a favourite of ours all year and Jon was sublime (and a lovely bloke)

Edinburgh Festival – The Lunchtime Ferret

Set on top of a double decker bus, this was a very silly show and far too early in the day for this, at times, utter madness. But it was as much fun as any show we saw in Edinburgh and a perfect start to any festival day.

Edinburgh Festival – The Wrestling II

A massive production and a unique one off extravaganza, no-one who was there will forget it, and I will never forget Carole screaming like an old lady during 70s wrestling. Priceless.

Edinburgh Festival – Ben Crellin – Comic of Duty

The first time we ever saw Ben we hated him. The second time we got it and he has been a friend ever since. This was a masterful, uncompromising show with huge swipes at the injustices in society. A wonderful thoughtful guy too. Now back in New Zealand, which is a big loss. We hope he is back soon.

Edinburgh Festival – Max & Ivan – The Reunion

A wonderful show from our favourite sketch group, and that is saying something as we are very partial to some sketch comedy. A sublime performance and surely only a matter of time before they are huge. A special mention to Paul F Taylor & Rebecca Shorrocks – ‘Short & Curly’ who have been a real gem for the last two years on the Free Fringe.

Edinburgh Festival – Brendon Burns Has Never Heard of You.

In a year of 259 shows this was Carole’s single favourite show. A wonderful show with a massive twist.

Edinburgh Festival – Danny Ward – Pressure Point.

Hopefully his win in the Laughing Horse Awards, where we watched him blow everyone away apart from the judges who astonishingly chose Al Bubel and got left with having to split the award, will propel Danny to bigger things. His ranty routines would go down great on the small screen. While talking of ranty comics it is worth mentioning Garrett Millerick who we think is terrific and deserves a break.

Edinburgh – the other standouts for us. Almost too many to mention so I am going to ignore the many household names we saw. Jessica Fostekew, Diane Spencer, David Trent, Tommy Holdgate, Milo McCabe, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet theatre, Martin Mor, Jonny Awsum, Chris Stokes, Rachel Parris, David Mills, Barry Castagnola, The Boy With Tape on His Face, Catriona Knox and Nick Helm were all wonderful. And it is worth mentioning Matt Price who put on a show at ten days’ notice with his remarkable true story of his Turkish Comedy trip and it was a masterclass of storytelling considering the amount of time he had to prepare. It was also special to see Ed Byrne doing a warm-up for Yianni, whose idea of booking the biggest venue in Edinburgh and filling it may have backfired – or did it? What a wonderful adventure.

November – Jarred Christmas Snafu – Plymouth B-Bar

A comedy masterclass from one of the best comics out there and one of a bunch of Kiwis we were lucky enough to see.

November – Mark Thomas – 100 Acts of Minor Dissent – Calstock Arts

One of a raft of wonderful shows we saw at Calstock, worth it just to see some of the Daily Mail reading faces in the crowd balking at some of ‘the acts’.

November – Adam Hills – Happyism – Exeter Corn Exchange

Best feel good show of the year and a night which showed how a man at the top of his form can just roll with it and include so many people and leave them with memories for life.

November – James Acaster – Lawnmower – Exeter Bikeshed

Absolutely sublime stuff from a man who is a master of words.

Various times of the year – Plymouth Comedy Club

By a mile this was consistently the best club night of the year. Three monthly over two night and always a sell-out and always a great crowd. January saw a jaw droppingly good set from Sully O’Sullivan, April gave us a masterclass from John Warburton, July was one of four times we got to see a man who will always be the first name we look for at festivals – Silky, and October gave us the wonderful Sol Bernstein and Katie Mulgrew after whom we have named a rescue hen. A good Christmas special too and Chris Brooker holding it together – our joint favourite MC of the year – the only thing wrong with this night is that it is not bi-monthly or monthly – yet? Our other favourite MC of the year – Larry Dean, who we were ecstatic to see win Scottish Comedian of the Year. We expect big things from Larry and it’s good to see all the travelling miles paying dividends.

Tony Law

We saw Maximum Nonsense and Nonsense Overdrive as well as a one-off show at Machynlleth and various spots. We are joyous that people are really embracing him now. He is still our favourite comic and we will always love him!

There are loads of up and coming acts starting to make waves. Our favourites of 2013 were Cerys Nelmes, Luke Honorratty, Omar Hamdi, Amy Howerska and Jon Wagstaffe.

With 493 distinct acts in 259 shows, some of whom we saw several times, 2013 was a fantastic year for comedy for us. There were a handful of downs, but very few in a year with so many highs.

Bring it on 2014.

Dave and Carole.

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