No Punchline; Comedy Reviews
A few weeks ago, I started asking if people would have any interest in submitting reviews of comedy shows they had been to recently, and to date I have recieved literally one… luckily, it’s a cracker!
Westmeaths finest, Misss Alison Spittle headed along to last weeks filming of RTEs new stand-up show, “Stand and Deliver”, in the Roisin Dubh in Galway. Over to Ali…
How to review comedy? Why should another persons opinion on humour matter? For instance: I adore Maeve Higgins “fancy vittles”, my auntie however reacted to the programme at first with silence, followed by a few confused grunts, shortly moving on to “Is she going to give out the measurements of the flour?”, “What has her cat got to do with the cakes?”, until it brewed into a crescendo of “Alison, for fucks sake, if you’re not going to laugh any louder I’m going to switch over”. Nobody wins in that situation, and we both felt embarrassed for our likes and dislikes. Much like a couple leaving a Travel Inn after experiencing a threesome arranged through the Buy and Sell, there is always a more enthusiastic partner in that situation. Alas, my aunt and I got over this and I am now chief bridesmaid at her wedding. This is how I found myself in Galway (for a dress fitting) and, most importantly, to see Stewart Lee live.
I have never seen Galway city in the evening before. To be honest I felt uncool compared to the shaggy haired, neatly trimmed bearded brigade that traipsed The Roisin Dubh, for I as a teenager was happy to skip around my council estate dressed as a Morbeg. It made me feel special, it gave my peers reason to accept me under the logic that, if I dressed like that, I must have access to soft drugs. The venue itself was small and beautiful; it looked like a place where people would discuss Nietzsche without fear of a Bacardi breezer getting violently stabbed in their stubbled cheek. This venue was turned into a make-shift TV studio for ‘Stand and Deliver’, a new RTE stand up comedy show. When the camera crew were ready, we were directed through a small yet majestic door into a room with a stage. As my aunt was pregnant, and I a chronic slow-walker, we were too late to get seats. When I told the staff of my aunts failure to use contraception four months ago, they were more than helpful. The MC for the night was Kevin Gildea, he set the ground rules down, made the audience laugh and mentioned Winning Streak and Mary Harney. These are all the facets of a MC who knows his audience. First act of the night was Jarlath Regan, a confident chap who made a connection with the audience and to tell the truth was grand and likable.
Next up was Eleanor Tiernan with a nice set and looking at ease. I looked at her and thought: “This is what I should be doing”. It was funny to watch audience members tense up, straighten their backs, puff out their chests, and laugh theatrically when the audience camera zoomed in. These were all quality comedians getting a laugh on a consistent basis, surely something I should be doing.
I wish I was more eloquent, and I know it sounds awful, but for the first forty-five minutes of this show all that was running through my mind was: “Stewart Lee is going to be on that stage”. “I wonder what will he wear?”. “He must have met Charlie Brooker, I bet they are friends, I bet they have dinner parties hosted by Konnie Huq”. “I wonder if he likes white pudding?”. “Will he do the Tom O’Conner bit? No he won’t that was his on his last tour, but he could do another joke about Tom O’Conner? Surely there is more Tom O’Conner based humour”. “Gash, I should have watched more Stewart Lee DVD’s”. “Would he enjoy Total Recall?”.
These thoughts were interlinked with several scenarios in my head of sitting in the Green Room sharing an anecdote that involved my friend, Tullamore Harriers, a couple of E’s, a fella known locally as Scaldy Balls, and a tub of hummus; Stewart Lee’s jaws chattering with laughter before his face darkens as he says “Fuck off out of the Green Room.”. All of a sudden I was snapped out of my day dream with the words of Kevin Glidea. “Please, welcome to the stage, Stewart Lee!”. BANG. He brushed past me to get to the stage. I reacted like a leper touched by Jesus. I knew I would. It was a matter of time, I was physically preparing myself lest I end up in convulsions. I waited. I willed him to make me laugh. He mentioned Abrakebabra and Donna and Joe McCaul. This was enough. I felt like I had been shot. I was incapacitated, capable of nothing but laughing for the whole set.
Then it was time for the break. I walked to the bar, and there he was. Talking to people and drinking Guinness like a normal person. I thought that maybe he should be in a chamber to rest and taken out to do stand up like a humourous Superhero only called upon for the good of society. I passed him by for the third time then finally got the courage to say “You are brilliant”. He nodded and walked on and I felt like a twat. Here is a normal man who does stand up for a living, and here I am talking about him like he is some sort of demi-god. what is he supposed to say? “thanks Alison, your opinion matters to me and it is only now I can take stock of my life and reassure myself that everything will be okay in the world”.
Next up was Glen Wool who was hilarious, and the only person who my aunt and I agreed upon. He is ready for bigger and better things. Then Reginald D. Hunter hit the stage as my aunt looked at me naively and said “He is going to make fun of the whites, isn’t he?”. He did and he was classic at it. Such a presence, every sentence had a definite route to the next laugh. With that, the show was over. My aunt and I nipped to the loo before the crowd left their seats. We bumped in to a runner delivering pizzas to the green room, and as the smell wafted up my nostrils, I had an epiphany: this is what I want from life! To make people laugh, to travel the world, to get free pizza and have cunts tell me I’m brilliant.
Cheers Alison! And if anyone else happens to see a show and wants to sound off about it, send it over here! Heading to see Jimmy Carr in the Olympia? Bill Bailey in the O2? Or just caught a great night in the Laughter Lounge? Mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I look forward to reading them!