Minkley’s Night of Mirth 3

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

It was a line-up many big charity benefits would envy – certainly enough to easily sell out Brighton’s Komedia.

Minkley’s Night of Mirth was the third such fundraiser in aid of The Samaritans and in memory of Oliver Minkley, a local musician and new-act comic who took his own life in 2010.

The biggest draw would surely have been Stewart Lee, here trying out material for the next series of his Comedy Vehicle on BBC Two. And if this set is anything to go by, he’s developing a more political edge, subjecting the party leaders and the entire system and its ‘illusion of dissent’ under the same intense, sarcastic scrutiny he’s previously applied to his fellow comics. Not that comedy itself escapes entirely, with the usual analysis of his own gags, and a typically iconoclastic attack on Bill Hicks, slaying a sacred cow many of his own followers will hold dear.

Lee was preceded by Rob Beckett, heavy on the ‘be lucky’ Sarf London patter, and ever-affable compere Ed Gamble, who couldn’t have been left in any doubt he was playing Brighton after engaging with one front-row punter who’s job was making windchimes, and another who worked in a chichi vegetarian coffee shop cutesily titled Wai Kika Moo Kau. [Why Kick A Moo Cow].

The second section was dominated by comedy hip-hop. Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, reimagining hits from the second summer of love with his ukulele and cut-glass accent proved the perfect entertainment for a crowd who surely still remembered those happy rave days, but now prefer to sit down for their nights out. Abandoman also featured, with their ever-crowd-pleasing improvised rap What’s In Your Pocket? and a mini-epic based on the lives of two audience members. The stand-up pastrami in this rap sandwich was Michael Fabbri, incredulously puzzled about how a world he doesn’t quite fit into, could possibly function. Smug grammar Nazis, ITV schedulers or unchivalrous pornographers are among those he just doesn’t quite understand.

Kicking off part three, Nick Helm, fresh from the announcement that he’s to star in his own BBC Three series, didn’t quite behave with the decorum that a representative of Her Majesty’s broadcaster should. Few are as expert at exposing the raw desperation of stand-up as him, barking his dubious jokes with such raw aggression right into the faces of the terrified front row, thirsting for their approval and even love. His typically full-on finale was a visceral overload that closing act Mark Watson, with his amiable commentary of life, found some difficulty in following.

Review date: 30 Apr 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton Komedia

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