Cerys Nelmes, Patrick Morris, Fitz, Josh Sadler, Paul McCaffery
Having double booked himself, once again Dave found that he couldn’t make this event, and also once again my friend Marie had been roped in to keep me company. A slight delay on entry as they had lost our name but I had the receipt for the tickets and it was no problem at all to seat us. Quickly we had ourselves settled safely at a table well to the rear of the long arm of the L shaped room.
We were starving when we arrived and soon had veggie burgers, chips and salad ordered and a drink in front of us. It didn’t take us long to polish it all off and we were just finishing up as the show was beginning.
First up Cerys Nelmes, long known to us, and a very capable MC. Nobody interrupts Cerys for very long without some payback and she was soon having a convo with a couple sitting near us by the names of Hannah (long legs, long blonde hair, young and pretty) and “Yes Money” – that was what was written on his tshirt – we never did find out what his real name was – he became Yes Money for the rest of the night. Yes Money was dark and a bit older than his paramour and he was definitely fighting above his weight.
The trouble with these two is that they wouldn’t be quiet, and when they weren’t bantering with the naughtylicious Cerys they were chatting to each other, laughing out of time and being busy on their phones. They seemed oblivious to the dark looks that Marie and I were casting their way at their blatant disregard of proper comedy audience etiquette.
Cerys has a way with the audience and had soon moved on from H and YM and was giving other punters her attention and best bawdy lines. Cerys doesn’t much mind what she says or what she shows you on her i-Pad so you’d better be ready to shield your eyes if necessary!
Our opening act, Patrick Morris, was young with lots of hair pulled back with (he admitted) an invisible hairband, Patrick told us about his not fitting in with his laddish friends. He doesn’t want to go to nightclubs and be “a legend” whatever his friends think that is. Material mostly for the younger audience but good for all that. We can all sympathise with feeling out of place at times.
Into our break and then the first act of our middle section – Fitz. Having come from the Woodside Pub the night before (Comedy Avengers) he said he “was one to watch – by the Devon and Cornwall Police”. An entertaining middle spot with material around weird names and favourite train stations, Fitz kept the punters happy and engaged.
Second act in the middle section, Josh Sadler, is from the North where “there are Greggs Bakers on every street corner” but has shifted a little south and west to Bristol. We have seen Josh before, but not in recent times. Nearly all of his material was new except for a lovely piece at the end about long sausages and pizza, which is delivered in a million miles an hour Italian accent and definitely well worth keeping in the act.
A last interval and then onto our headliner, Paul McCaffery. We’ve seen Paul several times before and I reminded him before the show that the last time we saw him was the evening when he was the first act we managed to attend after our accommodation fiasco at Edinburgh last year, when in the front row, we’d proved to be comedy gold when asked “What have you two been doing today?” He remembered!
Paul is a lovely laidback, self deprecating, observational comic. This doesn’t stop him having a razor sharp wit when it comes to interaction with the audience. He had a bash at his own looks, then told us about his second job as a parcel taker inner for all of his street. By the sound of it, he recognises the roar of the Parcel Force van before it turns the corner at the end of his road. Very funny material there and more to come around parking, laddish games and in a great bit of front row banter, cars, potholes and punters’ very Catholic tastes in music. With a good call back at the end, nothing seems to faze McCaffery and as he has very rarely repeated material whenever we have seen him, it’s a fresh show every time.
A good night at the Ski Lodge, despite slightly less numbers than usual and the noise coming from the next table. Cerys, bring your gun or a very big bouncer next time!
London Pleasance 30th party & Zip Zip Comedy
While Carole was working and then going to the Ski lodge, I had a day off to accept an invite to London for the Pleasance’s 30th Birthday bash, but more importantly do a bit of meeting some of the people at the Pleasance who have been magnificent in their support of my World Record attempt at the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe.
A first for me was the Megabus trip up. A staple of comics’ horror tales of travelling, this was actually a lovely trip up. An empty seat next to me and free wifi meant I could go through the Fringe program which had been delivered the day before and cross check the planned schedule and mark page numbers next to shows on my master sheet. All stuff that Guinness want as part of the verification of the record.
After disembarking at Victoria I took the tube to the Pleasance. Not having been there before I did not know it was fairly isolated otherwise I would have spent some time elsewhere as I was a good two and a half hours before the start time of the party. Still I got to say hi to Chrissy who has been instrumental in the Pleasance side of things, and also her box office staff, before getting a late lunch and chilling out in the Courtyard. I also got to say hi to Justin Lee Collins, who was sat next to me on another table. He was about to present his radio show on Fubar Radio, who are based next to the Pleasance.
Finally the party came along and I got to meet Hamish, the General Manager and Anthony the Director, and loads of other staff members. And assorted comics who I had met before. I was particularly excited to bump into Amy Howerska again who Carole and I hadn’t seen for over a year, but whom we have a chicken named after at home.
We will be seeing her again in Edinburgh hosting Spank! at Underbelly on 20th August. I was also particularly pleased to get to say hello briefly to Nicholas Parsons. Those who know me will be aware I have been on quite a few TV game shows. I always loved Sale of the Century and did appear on it in 1989. It was on Sky by then and hosted by Peter Marshall, so this was my first chance to meet one of my heroes.
Just as the party was heading into full swing I had to say my goodbyes and head over to Reliance Wharf for Zip Zip comedy which was probably a bad idea to have booked when I could have chilled out for longer at the party. I arrived just before the 7:30pm start time to find they were having technical difficulties so it was a full forty-five minutes late in starting.
Still I got to meet Brett Goldstein and get him to sign both the Secret Edinburgh book in which we are collecting autographs in and Steve Best’s excellent Comedy Snapshot book http://www.comedysnapshot.com/.
Host for the night was Tom Webb, who we had seen before in Edinburgh hosting London Is Funny. A very good MC he interacted with the audience extremely well. Though he did pick on me more than I wanted! He introduced Brett Goldstein as the opener of the night and a very sharp twenty minute set he did, in particular the advertising section. We saw his Edinburgh show last year and it was one of our favourite hours of the festival. He isn’t there this year, but we will look forward to his next hour; Machynlleth next year maybe?
Next up was Alex Hudson who gave us a nice little nostalgia trip back to Year 6.
A big name next in Tom Rosenthal doing a section, which was very whimsical and funny, and a nice chap to boot. We will be seeing him again at the Pleasance on the 15th August doing a work in progress. Another of many things to look forward to at Edinburgh.
Next up was my personal highlight of the night, a new face in Lee Kern. He can do “everything” as he then demonstrated, including giving the best hand job. I think this was the most I have laughed all year. Absolutely brilliant and inventive stuff.
The it was Bob Slayer’s turn who Carole and I know so well from the last two Edinburgh Festivals. A total idiot but we love him. He is also very shrewd as his act bookings for his venues at Edinburgh and Leicester show. His act now seems to consist of wearing a sailor suit and just riffing his way as usual. Tonight he gave a fireman’s carry to a member of the audience and downed the bottle of Cornish Apple SLAYER cider I had brought up as a present. He also read to us from his children’s book, ‘The Happy Drunk’ – which had a different original name which had to be changed for legal reasons. Still shambolic, we still love him.
Meanwhile at the back of the room, The Live Scriber was doing his thing producing a live cartoon of the gig. Brilliant.
Picture reproduced by kind permission of ‘live artist Peter Morey’
By the time Bob had finished it was nearly 10:45 pm and I had to get back to Victoria having to leave before the final act Rob Pybus, who by all accounts is brilliant, incorporating live animation into the gig.
A hasty taxi back got stuck in the traffic and I made it to the bus just as it was pulling out of the station (fortunately the driver let me on). A £35 taxi fare was the only real downer of an otherwise brilliant day out. (The Megabus return trip from Plymouth had only cost £25).
This gig was fantastic value for money and better than any club gig I have ever been to back in our native homelandl. I hope I get to visit it again in the future, with Carole. The location itself is absolutely beautiful too on the banks of a canal.
Thanks Pleasance, Thanks Zip Zip, roll on Edinburgh.