Running a comedy night against England's opening Euro 2016 European Cup match was never going to be easy but I kept an open mind as I descended into the depths of the Holiday Inn to find Martin Monkey Business in a dark and slightly creepy function room.
I was booked for the early show and so at 7pm we kicked off with 5 acts and an equal number of audience - including a couple of Harry Potter fans out on their first internet-sourced date. Trying to do call-and-response in songs with so few people is never easy and my set went adequately. "Clicking Like" got it's third outing when I clocked that the male Potter-fan was sporting a thoroughly rock hairstyle but response was best for "Shuffle and Stop" with "Chilling" sitting somewhere in the middle.
Ariane Sherine MC'd in a warm friendly manner and played some stunningly rude songs on her guitar. With the exception of an act who played a folk song about paedophilia the rest of the line-up were great, even if the crowd were somewhat muted.
Martin offered those acts that want to stay on a spot at the later show so I hung on and waited to see if more people would show up. Come 9.15 there were a small but keen audience and we piled through a ten act bill split into two halves with a much needed break in the middle. The acts were again superb and the audience were more engaged. Well, if you count an older gentlemen who announced to the room he was mentally ill as a significant portion of the crowd. Said audience member got up and danced around when I did "Tales of the Unexpected" which was much appreciated. A group video'd the whole thing on their mobiles too.
Come 11.15 the night wrapped and we headed home. There's a certain anarchy about Monkey Business which is personified in Martin, particularly when he adopts his rambling MC style as in the second show, and the show is all the better for it. I'm back there next month - hopefully in the sunny ground floor function room rather than tonight's SAW inspired dungeon.