City Life Final Comedian Of The Year 2001

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

The 2000 winner, Justin Moorhouse, on the 2001 final...

The final of this year's City Life competition was as good as it has been in recent years.

Hosted by the fantastic compere Stephen K. Amos, nine brave men ventured on to the stage at the Comedy Store in Manchester to compete for the title previously contested for by comedy luminaries such as Peter Kay, John Thomson, Caroline Aherne and Johnny Vegas.

Not for the first time in recent years the line up was all male, and, frankly, in a multi-cultural city like Manchester little was offered in terms of ethnic diversity.

For the second year running, Mike Wilkinson had the unenviable task of being drawn first, despite this setback he managed to have a fantastic gig and was very unlucky not to be placed. Perhaps bemoaning his luck of the draw at the end of his enjoyable set marked him down slightly with the judges.

Des Sharples a newer act took the risk of trying topical material. On the night he didn't have as good a gig as he is capable of but showed real character and didn't let himself down.

Ross Wagman had, to be blunt, a nightmare. I would imagine that he would be the first to admit that on the night - the crowd didn't 'get him' - that said he was fresh and different to the rest of the line-up and who knows with determination and a little luck he could do very well in the future.

Nige was class. Full Stop. Character comedy only works when you believe in the character on stage - the crowd were believers of the highest order. With his carefully constructed set and fantastic observations of life Nige blew away every act who had gone before away.

First up after the interval Dominic Woodward showed great presence and his routines about Salford scallies had the partisan crowd in stitches.

Electric Forecast a double act, lifted the energy in the room and were very original, very funny and extremely entertaining.

John Bishop, meandered onto stage and proceeded to chat about the room, the competition, the sign he had picked up backstage - almost as if he was waiting for a response - a bite. They bit. the next ten minutes seemed to me as though Bishop had a spell on the audience - he breezed effortlessly and hilariously about the war in Afghanistan without being tasteless or offensive - a difficult tasks expertly accomplished. John Bishop is fantastic.

The last entrant Lee Grounds found it difficult to follow Bishop, although he had a few gems his was an almost impossible spot.

The judges were spot on picking John Bishop as the winner with Nige in second place. Third place went to Electric Forecast. Judging comedy is a thankless task - though on this night the winner picked himself.

Justin Moorhouse
November 1, 2001

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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