It has been a little while since we last attended a Comedy Avengers open mic night. They run their nights in various venues in Plymouth and surrounding areas and so we decided it was time to drop in to the Post Office Inn in Plympton, a pub neither of us had ever been in before and see now things were going with Richard ‘Pickles’ James and David Arnold, who both organise and participate in these nights.
Getting there pretty much on time, after a chat to some of the comics, we settled down to Richard ‘Pickles’ James’s opening lines as our MC for the night. We were in the third row, but it wasn’t for lack of space as there were plenty of spare seats. A wet Monday evening in February is a real crowd killer at the best of times, this was definitely no exception. What was more offputting was the smell of cigarettes which was permeating the room, obviously coming in from an open door or window out the back somewhere…shades of the old days when you couldn’t go out for an evening without coming back stinking like a fag packet.
Getting back to our MC, Richard started us off with some topical stuff on the flooding and getting even wetter thanks to car drivers who like to play “Soak the Pedestrian” for a hobby. However Karma is on his side and he gets to see what goes around coming around in the best possible way.
Soon enough Richard brings on flame haired Tash Bartlett, last seen in Edinburgh in August at La Tasca sharing an hour’s bill with the West Country’s best, the husky voiced, bootilicious, Cerys Nelmes. Tash told us that she has a “face for radio” however her voice is no good either! She practised some outrageous chat up lines on the audience and had a great line about Ann Frank posting her “secret” diary on Facebook..,who would ‘like’ that then?
Back to Richard, our MC, who told us about his recent trip to Lundy (Puffin) Island, a birthday treat from his girlfriend and meeting at least one rather odd local who gave them some memorable views.
Next up was David Arnold, exuberant Welshman and the other half of the Comedy Avengers management, who told us some delightful stuff about his mum who gets her words mixed up, knows how to give chemists heart attacks and tried to book a B & B in Swansea (Australia! Instead of in his homeland. All good story telling stuff and Mr Arnold imparts it all very confidently like an old pro.
Into a break, where we became even more aware that one or more people out the back or to the side of the pub were having a ciggie and the smell was wafting right through the pub again. Management need to sort out their outdoor smoking area or shut a bloody door, it was really offputting to us non-smokers.
Back to the action on stage…Richard introduced Luke Mallison. Looking very young, floppy haired, slim and in “hanging on the hips” skinny jeans, Luke introduced himself as a manchild whose mum cut his hair till he was 17…whereupon some wag shouted out that she still did. Some tales of sexual escapades and ringing bells (inducing Pavlovian erections) went down well with the audience. I don’t know how long Luke has been getting onstage for comedy so I won’t comment further…it’ll be interesting to see him in a year.
Our next act, Joshua Sadler had a lot to say for himself, my favourite bit was his clever pizza/calzone spiel, and all told in a proper Northern accent, more please Josh!!
With no further break or ado, we were re-introduced to Ben Thurston, we saw him at the Ski Lodge on the 7th June last year, which I blogged about saying that what he’d done was good and that there was plenty of time for him to build his act and become more confident. Well, Ben has certainly come on..no wavering, very assured indeed.
With material on his children, his age (nearly 40, you don’t look it Mr Thurston!) and anal selfies (no more on this, you really have to hear it for yourself), he has certainly developed his style (outwardly relaxed and smooth) and was only slightly disconcerted once, about two thirds through his stint, when we were interrupted by a punter coming in on his own through the front door to the left of the comedy “stage”. This man was disabled, which was made more obvious by him feeling his way over the flagstoned floor with a white stick. I had the feeling Ben wanted to make a clever comedic comment but was far too nice (and PC) to do so and so managed to cover the pause caused by this late entry and get back into his act without too much of a hiccup.
For a free open mic night, the entertainment is varied in delivery and comedic content. A few more punters would make all the difference to the atmosphere and I think I heard the Comedy Avengers say that they were going to try and change the day in future to try and get a bit more of a crowd…and please Post Office Inn, sort out your smoking area/ventilation!
(Dave: Anagrams: Richard ‘Pickles’ James – Premier Jackass Child, Tash Bartlett – Bath’s Tartlet, David Arnold – Avid Lard Don, Joshua Sadler – Has Judo Laser, Luke Mallison – Kill Anus Mole, Ben Thurston – Burn The Snot)