Sunday, 25 February 2018

Comedy in Ewell

A small suburb of Epsom isn't the most obvious place for a comedy night but Leon, one time promoter of The Comedian's Club at the Plough and Harrow in Leytonstone, had put out the call online and we responded. A few weeks later we found ourselves heading over the Dartford crossing with nothing much to go on except that nearly the entire bill had performed at Bear Jokes at some point.

The pub was lively and friendly, the landlord was enthusiastic and the PA was fresh from the previous night's karaoke session. True, being positioned in one wing of the main bar wasn't ideal but we slung some chairs out and turned the football down, previously blaring from the large TV screens. It was showtime.

New dad JB Carter was on MC duties and eased us in with some baby-related material before Jake Pickford chatted at ease and a few blokes wandered through the stage area to go to the toilet. A blind performer told some nice one liners and then someone on their fourth gig did a surreal piece based on a dinner party. We were set to close the half.

"What words come to mind when I say rap?" questioned JB. 

"Shit", came a response.

On we came.

And it wasn't too bad at all. We cranked the volume up and launched into Meal Deal. The people chatting at the bar stopped and stared. Shortly after everyone was shouting "Meal de-al." Breakthrough. From there we revived Crisis of Conscience with Anna's new interpretive dance routine and got a solid clap afterwards. Turn taken we drank our drinks, caught up with Peter Merriment and Sonia Aste then headed off into the ominous south London streets in the rap car.

Jon Long previews his Edinburgh 2018 show at Bear Jokes this Thursday at The Leyton Star. Come along. Read more here:

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Edinburgh Confirmed

Finally it's official, both First World Problems and Clash of the Tight Tens will return to Edinburgh this summer for their second full length runs. After some unfortunate business with the man at the top of PBH last year it was touch and go if we'd be able to find an organisation who we could both work with and afford but Laughing Horse came through with a great offer.

So it's off to Espionage we go and into the Kasbar room on the lower floor we delve. A room verging on double the size of last year's at the very inclusive time of 2.45pm. True, they'll be a part of me that misses having an office sink in the back of the room and lighting provided by desk lamps but you can't have everything. Clash of the Tight Tens goes matinee with a 12.15pm slot in the same room. Acts, there will be an email for spots going out in March.

Edinburgh excitement aside, this week had another highlight with a debut performance at Angel comedy. A packed out room, acts who knew what they were doing and a very strong MC explained why this new act/material show is the most successful in London. Plenty to think about when it comes to building up Bear Jokes. 

Overall I did fairly well with a rendition of Meal Deal but it usually takes two song for me to really break down the audience and hook them in and tonight was no exception. By no means were they muted but it deserved more. Some acts did well, others less so but crucially the night had flow and the audience were happy. I'd do it again, obviously.

Next stop, Epsom this Saturday.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Front Room Comedy at Pub on the Park

Last Thursday I returned to Pub on the Park, the home of Bear Jokes for many years before I upped sticks to The Leyton Star on account of it being more local to me. It's a wonderful pub with fantastic staff (including this evening Johnny from Folked Up) and a comfortable and genuinely nice upstairs room.

Since my departure the space has been given yet another overhaul and now completely justifies Benji Waterstone's choice of name for the evening. There are gold painted fireplaces, a huge round mirror, several chest of drawers and a vintage style spotlight. The great and the good of Stoke Newington would give their souls for their living room to look like this.

One thing that hasn't changed though is the variability of the night's turnout. Whilst we were joined by real audience around the midpoint, the start was very much a workshop with each act running through new material and taking feedback. Where comedy treads the line between entertainment and therapy becomes more distinct in these scenarios as the raw basis for material usually comes from personal experience; often initially difficult, awkward or dark. From this starting point to something that makes you laugh is a process that verges on pure alchemy. I look forward to seeing where what I heard this evening leads to in the polished final form in 3-6 months time.

As for me, I debuted the newly remixed intro track for our 2018 show and then ran through Meal Deal. Reaction was positive in as much as any reaction can be judged from eight comedians sitting in a room. In terms of the big festival push this year it looks increasingly likely my two-and-a-bit minute tale of inconvenient convenience food will be the lead track for promo. Maybe even a video if I can find some actual time to do it.