Comedy De Luxe: Week 2

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

The second week of Comedy De Luxe – a Tuesday-night gig designed to give less established acts a Chortle review before an extended set by a comedy name – offered a more consistently strong first half than the opening week, plus a chunky batch of delicious new material from Tony Law. But this is not the place to mention that...

First up of the newer acts was Fin Taylor. It’s de rigueur for a comic to open with a reference to their appearance, yet he he managed to do so in an original, and slightly silly, way that immediately sets him out as distinctive. Even his later take on BabeStation, which tends to be a cliched topic of stand-up has fresh moments.

Witheringly dismissive talk of ITV’s much-derided Splash! demonstrates that he keeps his set fresh, and serves as a run-in to a more straightforwardly observational bit about the old show Robot Wars that nonetheless boasts an appealing quirkiness. His persona is of a low-status, slight misfit pointing out deficiencies in the limited world around him – watching TV, mainly – and he does so with charm and skill.

Stella Graham is much more by-the-book, and therefore too obvious and mundane. Mistyping emoticons, obvious jokes about what ‘a knob of butter’ or ‘blowing smoke up your arse’ could mean, and pullbacks of the ‘...and they don’t like that in Tescos’ variety are the sort of jokes everybody could do – and already has. One visual moment about the reflecting properties of powered-down mobile phones sticks out, but there’s almost nothing of herself in a set that’s bland, if technically competent.

As a primary school kid, Sean McLoughlin decided he was not cut out for this world... thank goodness, then, for comedy, where the social outcasts can go and rail against life for not accommodating him properly. Lolloping awkwardly around the stage, he delivers a winning mix of the knowingly self-deprecating and the impotent frustration of the downtrodden. Much of the material is based on his own abject poverty – bitterly bemoaning how he’s too poor to eat, let alone enjoy even the most modest of treats. He already takes ‘austerity measures’ George Osbourne could never contemplate.

Based on the pointedness of his writing, he should be by rights be earning more money from comedy than he is... but does his mojo come from not having a pot to piss in?

Although increasingly breaking into a wider audience, Funmbi Omotayo has been on the black circuit for almost a decade, which explains his in-control poise on stage. There are a couple of too-easy jokes in his Olympics-dominated set – mistaking the torch of a spliff, especially – but plenty of more original insights and honest home truths to enjoy. His routine is warm, underplayed and gently-paced, making him a quiet pleasure you lean in to hear, rather than a comedian who forces jokes through on powerful delivery alone. But he doesn’t overlook jokes in the assured routine.

Aidan Goatley is also a relaxed presence, who specialises in personal anecdotes from his daily life in Brighton. He tends to use too-obvious devices to bolt laughs on to the stories (‘...and then I punched him’ coming out of nowhere,for example), but the routines are otherwise nicely constructed and perfectly engaging. But while he’s affable and enjoyable, finding any moment that would really stand out is more difficult, making this a set of good-natured light entertainment more than a rip-roarer.

Review date: 3 Feb 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Smiths

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