Saturday, 27 August 2011

Trap X

"Scientists estimate the 10th planet in the solar system will be called Bikini". A collection of facts like these, alongside some jaunty music started the Trap's new show

It's been a long month. All my favourite comedians seem to have gigs in Edinburgh, all booked at the same time which seems a bit weird. So, I headed to Camden where all the cool kids are hanging out to see The Trap. It was also a good chance to meet comedy twitter people such as William Tennant and Hitch, as well as regular comedy mates, Neal and Richard.

I saw The Trap last year doing Bad Musical and you have probably seen me write about them quite a bit as they are 75% of Los Quattros Cvnts. They are comprised of 2 must-follow tweeters, Paul Litchfield and Jeremy Limb, along with just as funny, but less tweety Dan Mersh.

They times this gig rather badly as it clashes with the final of "Show Me The Funny" which is an ITV comedy talent series that started terribly, but has got better as it has gone along. Anyway my funny is on Tiff, but will I manage to avoid the result before I get home?* Anyway that concludes my little intro. I guess i should write the rest after I've seen the show. (* avoided the result, but Pat Monaghan deservedly won)

The Trap did point out that the title of their show is not because it contains any pornography, but that X was the Roman numeral for 10, representing their 10 years together. However Camden council had insisted that some should be included. So we had a saucy sound effect to look forward to.

Starting with their first ever gig, where they were so nervous they were all going to the toilet, being sick and having heart attacks, we worked out way through The Trap's alternative history.

We moved on to a job interview sketch, where the candidate had applied to be a job interviewer, leading to an extremely confusing conversation about 4 levels deep, which Dan and Jeremy got through perfectly. Although there are 3 of them, this sketch shows perfectly why I see The Trap as the new Two Ronnies.

I really enjoyed a sketch by 2 new fathers who decided they didn't want to mollycoddle their babies led to a rather extreme and shocking conclusion.

We had some failed audience interaction with the most famous man in the world, and also some excellent interaction between Paul and William, both encased in a box for a reprise of Paul's one man show.

The promise of the stupidest song in the world certainly didn't disappoint. Jeremy performed "What A Wonderful World" very straight with the baffling addition of "Crème. Crème. Crème. Crème Egg"

At the end, the boys asked for various audience members to be in a sketch with them, reprising all the characters that were in the show which made for quite a unique way to finish.

We ended up in the beer garden chatting with Paul who was entertaining as always, and discussed the fantastic new video format "Diamond DVD". - that will only make sense if you were sitting round the table. To be honest, I've forgotten the entire context. But boy, did we laugh.

We headed on to our tube train and Hitch agreed to come with me to Angel where we found almost every pub closed. Luckily, The Old Queens Head was open, where I impressed Hitch by telling him it was where Herring's Mars Bar routine was performed. He didn't look impressed but I could tell he was, then ending the evening at The Mucky Pup. At some point he must have pushed me over as I have woken up with a massive head bump. Obviously it would be Hitch's fault and not mine. You have another three chances to see them. Please make sure you do.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Bourke & Hawks (weren't they graverobbers?)

Most comedians have arrived in Edinburgh already but there was still time for one final Fortnight Club before it shuts its doors until the Fringe is over and done with. I was looking forward to this gig more than most as it promised extended sets from Mary Bourke (who I love) as well as the legend that is Tony Hawks (from Morris Minor and The Majors no less - remember? Oh.). He is probably best known for travelling round Ireland with a fridge. I guess he could be described as the original Dave Gorman in that he decides to do a completely ludicrous thing, and writes a very funny show and book out of it.

Tonight I met up with Rob, Richard, Sir Bob and fellow Collins & Herring jingle writer, Rose, and we got our usual front row seats, though Rose slightly hid in the row behind as she was a little anxious about being picked on. This was, as we shall see later, a wise move.

Tony Hawks
We still had the usual Fortnight Club tradition of a few more established comics trying new material which took up the first half. It was a shame that usual compere Ronnie Rigsby (aka Logan Murray) wasn't available, but this role was filled by the very likable, Dave Thompson (aka Tinky Winky from Teletubbies. No, really!)

Now I can't remember all the names of the acts in the first half, but there was a really good Australian comic who, too look at reminded me a little of Sarah Millican, but who had an acid tongue. She liked younger men and pointed at Rob, asking if he was straight. When the answer came back negatively, she asked him how old he was, and when Rob told her he was 26, she dismissed him for being too old. There was also an Asian guy who was very good, as well as a northern female comedian too. I would definitely like to see all of these acts do their regular set some time. If someone can fill me in with the names it would be great.

There was another northern comedian armed with a guitar, Stevie Gray, who liked the look of Richard. This is where Rose's hiding in the second row all came good, as Stevie demanded Richard join him on stage. As a compulsive show off, Richard needed no persuasion and bounded on stage and was given a pirate costume. Now I didn't quite understand the point of the song, or why it was funny, however it did involve Richard shouting "Aaaar" and hopping. But, as I said, I'm not quite sure why.

Tony Cowards
Tony Cowards was on after the interval. He's a one line gag merchant in the style of Milton Jones, Gary Delaney and Tim Vine and at a guess he must have gone through about 50 jokes in his 10 minutes on stage. Well worth following on Twitter too.

All through the performances there was a group near the back who were constantly chattering. They probably didn't realise how distracting it was for the audience and the friends I was with had commented on it too. I told them not to worry as Mary wouldn't stand for it and was soon proven right.

Mary Bourke
Mary Bourke was on next. She is a favourite of mine at The Fortnight Club and this was, I imagine, her last preview before hitting Edinburgh. I had seen a lot of this show before but it didn't matter. Her stories of being banned from Mumsnet, her lessons in "mum-cussing" for teenage boys on the bus, and her "tweet or delete" sections all went down really really well. Out of my friends, only Richard had seen Mary before and the other 3 all really enjoyed her. She has a very depressing and deeply cynical view of life, but this doesn't stop the laughs coming. She takes us to very dark places indeed. And as for the chatterers in the audience, she gave them hell.

Mary is good value on Facebook, but would be a fantastic asset to twitter. Come on Mary - join us!

I had been looking forward to seeing Tony Hawks for some time. I remember him from back in the day and have read a few of his books. He started out by explaining that he wasn't Tony Hawk, the Jackass star and skateboarder, which is something he must get a lot, as there was a long routine in his show about emails that have been sent to him by mistake and how he has replied to them. There is even a special section on his website dedicated to this. I wonder if Tony Hawk gets requests for signed copies of Stutter Rap?

The heat was so stifling in the venue even with both doors open that Tony was struggling to keep his guitar in tune, but we didn't mind. Some of his routines, such as the one about self-checkouts in supermarket and the voice that says "unexpected item in the bagging area" could be seen as a little obvious, but this show is in its early days yet and he will be touring it extensively round the country from September.

Richard doing his pirate dance!

I had a quick chat with Tony after, where he enquired about my "Who Is Virgilio Anderson" t-shirt. When I wear it anywhere other than where there are a lot of Richard Herring fans, it does tend to provoke a few questions. I tried to explain as best as I could. A lot of people do ask, so here is the first part of the story from Richard Herring which continues here. There's even a Virgilio Anderson song involving Richard's furious podcast rant!

So, enjoy Edinburgh. I shan't be there but shall be living it via Twitter and podcasts. If you're there, make sure you see:

Other comedians and shows are available.