Clint Edwards, Chris Stokes, Chris Martin
It’s Friday, 12.30pm, I’m at work (I’m a receptionist at a large secondary school in Cornwall) looking forward to five o’clock so that I can head home for the weekend, for dinner and a quiet Friday night in. My mobile phone buzzes away to itself on the desk; quickly I answer it – it’s Dave.
He says “Don’t say no.” I say “What?” He says “Don’t say no but I want to go to Bristol tonight for comedy.”
A rushed dinner, and a one eye on the rearview mirror trip up the M5 motorway, 124 miles later we are in Bristol parking up quite neatly in the multi-storey car park just around the corner from the venue. More or less on time we head straight into The Lantern Room and get ourselves sat down – I’m persuaded to occupy front row seats.
Just a couple of minutes over start time we are introduced by “the voice of God” to MC Clint Edwards. Tall, slim and appropriately, given the name of the venue, lantern jawed. Straight into a bit of audience banter we soon met up with W the border intelligence officer in the second row behind us. We could tell you his name but then we’d have to hunt you down and kill you. We also met S the carpenter who Clint reckoned was W’s boss as he was in the cabinet.
After a longish warm-up it was time to bring on our first act, Chris Stokes. We’ve seen Chris a few times and we saw him at last year’s Edinburgh Festival when we thoroughly enjoyed his show at the Pleasance. Chris’s act was a mix of old and new. Some of his material is about his veganism and how one of his uncles doesn’t agree with his dietary choices and geekiness. Chris comes across as a vulnerable and fragile blend of someone who looks deceivingly young but has already received a few hard knocks regarding his love life. What is worrying is that, by his own on stage admission, he doesn’t seem to be enjoying his comedy anymore. I hope that he gets over this and finds the fun in it again – this comedy genius is too good to lose.
Into an interval, some more of Clint, W the border intelligence spook and S his boss, and then we are into the very likeable Chris Martin. Last seen by us hosting the Amused Moose New Act Competition Final in Edinburgh last year, Chris was honing his Edinburgh show, Responsibilliness, for us.
Lots of material about his new girlfriend, posher food choices, and just how do you pronounce quinoa anyway? Another set piece about the awfulness of going to the loo at a party only to find someone else’s leftovers in the toilet generated empathy from the audience. Mix in young children, queues for the self-same loo and general middle class awkwardness – and you have a recipe for a show that will keep lots of punters happy.
Martin’s show still needs a little more editing and polishing but Edinburgh is still the best part of two months away so plenty of time to tease the show to perfection.
Meanwhile – there was still the long trip back to Cornwall to contemplate…Dave drove and let me nap most of the way home.