We were on our way to the Leicester Comedy Festival for the 14th and 15th of Feb (Valentine’s romance, dear reader, for the Chapples, is a bloody good laugh) – but enroute we were spending the night of the 13th in Bristol, and two gigs and a hotel had been booked.
Our first run long out in our new motor was the 123 mile trip up to Bristol’s Cube Cinema in Dove Street where Brendon Burns was doing his show Outside the Box, not once, but twice this evening as he’d sold out the first show very quickly.
Parking was a nightmare as all the nearby spaces seemed to have been filled, but eventually we squeezed into a puddle filled spot and made our way inside. Dave lined up to collect our tickets and was told that we also had to become “lifetime members” at the cost of £1 each. It’s not a venue we’d been to before, and it’s fairly unlikely that we’ll return unless it’s for more comedy, so I’m not sure that we’re going to get much more out of our lifetime membership, but it looks like these guys are always fundraising to help the venue so hey ho.
We hung about for a while as the venue began to fill up and eventually we were let into the performance space and it wasn’t very many minutes more, and in fact still only ten to eight, when Brendon came onto the stage making noises about getting started as soon as possible and harrying people to their seats as he’d two shows to do!
Brendon’s obviously not spending any of his ticket sales money on stage clothes or sets. He was dressed in ripped jeans, checked shirt, body warmer and peaked cap. He had a stool, a table and some extra technology as he is recording his shows for a series of podcasts.
Brendon is like a force of nature, assured, abrasive, raw and upfront. He poked fun at the Brits, redefined the male’s role re: feminism, and used plenty of physical comedy, He has many accents down to a T, and my oh my, don’t ever think you’ll get to heckle him and make the show about you because he will take you down faster and more viciously than you’ve ever been taken down before. One lady heckler up at the back is probably still putting salve on the burns on after the roasting he gave her.
Completely unsuspecting (and keeping my mouth shut as we were on the front row), I was also picked upon when Brendon got onto the subject of porn and young women, an age group he would reject in favour of the more “mature” lady’s pornographic charms!
A large piece of the show was devoted to a satirical send up of Arnold Schwarzenegger who Brendon first impersonated brilliantly and then gave his own interpretation to him telling jokes complete with accent. I won’t go into details; it’s too good to spoil but the punters were lapping it up as were we.
I am a big fan of Brendon’s; he is rude, earthy, honest in his opinions, and what you see is what you get. Having to do two shows back to back in the Cube shows the level of popularity that he is gaining, and I’d see this show again in a heartbeat.
Carole and Brendon.
So, as soon as we’d left The Cube we headed the car in the direction of The Wardrobe Theatre, a small space above a lovely pub called The White Bear, high on St Michael’s Hill barely a mile up the road. Mike Wozniak and Joey Page had been doing a double header work in progress during the evening, and as we’d found out that Mike (who we’d already seen just a week or so before doing his WIP at The Bike Shed) was going to be on first; we’d timed our arrival to our second gig of the evening for the break before Joey Page was to come on.
We managed to park fairly easily this time and as we were dashing along the road to the Bear, we heard a shout from behind; which proved to be Mike shouting hello to us and asking us how had Brendon’s gig gone, just as he was driving away. What a nice bloke he is.
So at 9.30pm we sat down to Mr Page. Dave handed me a large glass of red and we tottered up the stairs to the venue.
Dave had met Joey before but neither of us had seen him on stage. His act proved to be a mix of observational comedy and surreality. Ten years into the comedy game, behatted and wearing a black and white stripy t-shirt, Joey gave the middle aged in the audience a bashing for not dying and freeing up the housing market; there was some self deprecatory fun poked at himself for still living with his parents and having to bring ladies back to his home. Several surreal set pieces ensued, in particular the astronauts (complete with sound effects), and the story of mum’s mop.
Joey’s surrealism is fantastic and by far the best part of his show as far as I’m concerned. I’ll remember those astronauts for a long time!
Off then back to the Cube (we wanted to catch Brendon coming out of his second show, for some merchandise and a quick chat), via the local Co-op for a sandwich (we’d not eaten before leaving home all those hours before and I was feeling more than a tad hungry!). Brendon very kindly gave me a freebie “I’ve never heard of him” tshirt (I’d lost the one I got from him two years ago at the Fringe) and posed for a pic.
We were booked in at the Holiday Inn Express at Filton and on checking in very late, found to our happiness that a free breakfast was also included. We had a great room with a huge, comfy bed and all for (a well pre-booked) £40. The perfect end to a great evening.