With temperatures outside cooling slightly from a daytime-high of 48C, Louis Ramey – a finalist from Season 6 of Last Comic Standing – headlined The Laughter Factory’s line-up in Abu Dhabi. After sterling, banter-based sets from Andre Vincent and Quincy, he took to the stage like a startling cross between The Shield’s Michael Chiklis and Ainsley Harriott.
The first thirty seconds were rather unspectacular, as he made a rather generic joke about central Canada that went right over my head and landed somewhere behind the bar. This was clearly just Louis starting with something non-controversial before revealing his dark side though, because within minutes of this he had been radically honest about his sexual aspirations, perfectly imitated a gruesome sex toy and verbally raped a woman in the front row.
And we were loving it.
Rarely deviating from the theme of sex (or that woman in the front row) he gave us observations, analogies, one liners and asides that were mostly original and always very, very funny. There were a smattering of the old standards in terms of topic, but even these were given a new spin.
However, as the performance got darker and darker it was only Louis’s obvious charm, that stopped several members of the audience from wanting to phone the police. For most of us, however, that just made him even funnier and I suspect Louis, in his current incarnation, would make a perfect double-bill with Andrew Lawrence. Sure, half the audience might leave, but the half that stayed would get the gig of their lives.
As well as the lovely, dark-edged material, he has a couple of techniques that perfectly complement the set – one, a habit of occasionally muttering asides to himself, gave us some of the best laughs of the night. Another is a bait and switch that ties in with this, and which I don’t want to give away here.
Towards the end, we got a couple of impressions – Barry White and a very tall basketball player – which initially, while funny, felt like Leftovers from his TV-friendly material. But then he took that and turned it around into one of the darkest moments yet.
Well worth seeing, and if you’re the kind of comedy fan who likes his humour raw, dirty and who has Monkey Dust constantly playing on a loop in the back of their head, you’ll be in heaven.