Jack Samuel Warner
Jason 'Entertainment' Cooke
Jason John Whitehead
Jefferson & Whitfield
Jonny And The Baptists
Compering BBC Three on the Fringe
More Jarred Christmas videos
|Compering BBC Three on the Fringe|
|At BBC Comedy Presents|
|Top Gun and SAW|
|Jarred Christmas: Pluto|
|Jarred Christmas gets naked onstage|
Named best compere at the 2010 Chortle Awards, at the third time of being nominated.
The Bounty in Cock Marsh, Buckinghamshire, is not a pub that hosts much comedy. In fact, it’s a pub that seems unlikely even to have a clientele, since it’s not accessible by road. Cock Marsh isn’t even a hamlet, but a water-meadow opposite the village of Bourne End. You can walk through a small wood to get there, or – better yet – hop on a tiny launch that will ferry you across the Thames, provided you can catch the attention of the boatman across the river.
The landlord has made a virtue of the isolation. ‘Twinned with Chernobyl’ says a sign over the entrance, while inside every surface is covered with paraphernalia, variously tacky, symbolic, personal or witty – sometimes all at once, sometimes none of the above. There are flags representing everything from branches of the armed services to pleasure-boat companies; handwritten community notices; old beer adverts; a stuffed seagull; plastic fish. A noose.
Host Tim Fitzhigham suggests this is a pirates’ inn, with their booty proudly displayed, which flatters the sensibilities of the regulars. This is as middle-class as an enclave can be, but this is how they can express a touch of anarchy.
They’re excited about the comedy night, too. It can’t be too often comedians off the telly make the trek out here. They’ve come as part of Pleasance Ahoy: the plan to transport comics by narrowboat between London and Edinburgh, performing pop-up gigs en route. It’s officially part of the Cultural Olympiad tied to London 2012, too, which means the shows are free.
Cock Marsh is the first stop outside London – the floating funnymen are next calling at Henley on Thursday and Wallingford next Monday – and the plan had been to set up the gig outside, with the barge and the river as the backdrop. Then the weather happened, forcing the show indoors.
By critical standards, it wasn’t a brilliant comedy night, merely an average one. But it was a brilliant event, with the sort of community atmosphere you don’t get in a metropolitan area awash with stand-up nights and audiences of strangers. Or where the show doesn’t rock up on a boat.
Being posh and jolly, Fitzhigham is instantly authoritative and charming, though his banter lost its way in the first half – only to be rekindled in the second with tales of previous derring-do on the Thames, especially the bureaucracy involved in his record-breaking 160-mile paddle in a paper boat, which proved a hit with the riverside audience.
Rob Beckett has lots of ‘diamond-in-the-rough’ charisma, but his writing is largely lame, noticing, for example, that dyslexia is a hard word to spell. Who would have noticed that… other than everyone? Now and again he would transcend such things, but there’s a lot of dull observation behind that beaming smile.
Jarred Christmas took a little time to find his feet too – at least by his standards as the consummate funmonger. The prepared material about his look and sound went down OK, no more or no less, but when he threw more caution to the wind and waded into the audience and asked punters to throw questions or topics at him, his spontaneity tapped into the more rebellious instincts of this unusual place.
After the break, quiet Welshman Matt Rees played a blinder, though his miserable demeanour could never show joy at his success. His appealing stance as a lazy loner is backed with some sharp, inventive writing, which is deliciously underplayed. A winning combination.
Headliner Reginald D Hunter was the big draw for many, judging by the number of plaudits and autograph requests he attracted after his set. But this unlikely spot was his first gig in four months, and Hunter was notably rusty. As he freely acknowledged on stage, much of his routine comprised thoughts and observations he hadn’t yet worked into punchlines. Asides like ‘that needs to be funnier,’ got laugh that the ideas which preceded it couldn’t. Still, the man has interesting ideas and an unrivalled stage presence – and what do you expect from a free show on the edge of a village? – so he gets away with it, and not for the first time.
Still, as a happening that’s bigger than the comics taking part, Pleasance Ahoy! is clearly the sort of stupid, ambitious and playful idea that the Edinburgh Fringe does best. And by taking the shows on the road – sorry, river – the 60ft narrowboat, Meggie, is proving a great ambassador for the festival.
You can follow the team's progress on pleasanceahoy.com.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 3rd Jul, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
Wednesday 7th Sep, '11- Old Royal Naval College
Sunday 16th Jan, '11-
Thursday 19th Aug, '10-
Friday 18th Jun, '10- House Of Wolf
Sunday 17th Jan, '10-
Show - Misc live shows -
Tuesday 1st Apr, '08-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2007 - Sunday 7th Oct, '07-
Show - Montreal 2006 -
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Just seen him MC at King Gong at the Comedy Store. I have never seen a funnier, nor a better MC than Jarred. Got the room to the right level of energy and got the crowd in the right mood, as well as delivering some quality material. He has funny bones. Didn't do too much picking on people in the audience, just the right amount, and all done in the right spirit. I wouldn't slag off working MCs by name, but I've seen a lot over the past 10 years and this guy knocks their collective cocks into a hat
Can I think of a less funny comedian? Yes, Max Boyce and Stewart Lee. But this guy Christmas is equally pathetic, devoid of any talent whatsoever. The problem with comedy over the last 20 years or so is that it is largely pitched by cretins at morons who would laugh at anything. Anybody who finds him funny needs to seek help. Very sad.
Great compere, very impressive handling of drunken crowd last night in N7. One act bombed and Jarred somehow got all the energy back in the room and managed to get everyone hyped back up for the next act. Some feat at a charity show! Ok, yes, some of his material was a little weak and obvious but this was overshadowed by his easy charm and masterful delivery. All of which which went a long way to making a great impression. Better jokes he can write but onstage charisma you either have or you don't and Jarred definitely does imho.
Very funny - don't get me started on how much I liked him!
I love this guy! He's fantastic. He has everything a great comic should have...including sexy glasses!
I love him. He is great.
I go every week to live comedy and Jarred was easily the best comedian I've seen. I was crying with laughter, and he got the best reaction I've seen at our local comedy club.
Saw Jarred for the fisrt time last night. Top draw performance, had the audience wrapped around his finger and I can't understand why he wasn't higher up the bill.
BBC New Comedy Awards Final
Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award Final
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Jarred Christmas: The Geek Show
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Jarred Christmas: The Hero Show
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Bruce Collective [Edinburgh 2010]
Jarred Christmas Stands Up
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Itch: A Scratch Event 
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Jarred Christmas: Let's Go MoFo
Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Do We Need You After The Apocalypse? The Game Show
Misc live shows
The Bruce Collective
Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show 2009
Late Nite Down Under
Best of Leicester Comedy Festival Tour 2009