Carlsberg Comedy Carnival 2009, Day 3

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Jay Richardson

Day three brought 16 comics in four shows over nine hours, so forgive me for rattling through brief reviews of each:

Show One: Young, Gifted and Green

John Colleary: Succeeded in energising an early afternoon gig as MC but made the awkward error of referring to a female punter as a man. Cruel gags at Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s expense.

Gearóid Farrelly: Amusing routine about his mam’s sex education talks with the lady herself in the audience. Force of personality covered for lesser material. Bitchily caustic about afternoon TV and at most compelling talking about growing up gay and quick on his heels in tough Finglas.

Carol Tobin: Exceptionally dark, regularly very funny and unafraid of making her audience temporarily uncomfortable for bigger laughs. Pet rapist routine was a particular highlight.

Keith Farnan: Covering a wide range of subjects, from the similarities of Irish and Jewish psychosis to the bearing of Star Wars on a marriage, every single punchline landed. Excellent.

Show Two

Eric Lalor: Capable compering, outlining his dubious reasons for performing a charity gig and the pitfalls of playing espionage with his kids in a CCTV-monitored shopping centre. Tremendous line about the perception of the recession in Ballymun.

Jack Whitehall: His voice and middle-class credentials make comparisons to Michael McIntyre inevitable but that’s no bad yardstick for an observational comic with a burgeoning television career. Impressively slick for such a young act, his continued ascent seems assured.

John Bishop: An effortless set from a consummate storyteller, with anecdotes on raising teenage boys and watching U2 in concert elevated by instinctive delivery and canny pacing. Revelation that Audi sought his Scouse tones for a voiceover.  

Show Three: The Stars Of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Featuring Stephen Frost, Ian Coppinger, Richard Vranch, Andy Smart, Steve Steen and special guest Sean Lock, the latter located his improv chops as the show progressed. A typically hit-and-miss affair that ran out of impetus a bit in the second half, it was nevertheless enlivened by mutual testicle grabbing from Frost and Lock, sterling work from Steen as a succession of foreign caricatures and little black dress adjusting from little bald Coppinger.

Show Four

David McSavage: Alternately amusing and frustrating, compere McSavage proved himself commendably quick-witted. A seemingly ill-advised return after the tour-de-force that was Neil Hamburger turned out to be the best part of his set.

Eugene Mirman: Any show where Mirman is the most conventional act on the bill stands out. The New Yorker presented an eclectic blend of prop-based gags, a memorable tale about a child that channelled Asperger Syndrome into a messiah complex and telephone recordings of his tangles with petty bureaucracy. Occasionally he took a little too long to establish his set-ups but appears to be increasingly acclimatising to European audiences.

Neil Hamburger: Gregg Turkington’s washed-up showbiz lag was the highlight of my festival so far. As inevitable as the persistent references to Michael Jackson’s death was that two-thirds of the audience would depart before the end of set. Those that stayed gorged themselves on his obscene celebrity scenarios, as he swung between brilliant and dire punchlines with equal invention. A wonderfully realised character, I can’t wait to watch again.

Review date: 26 Jul 2009
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson

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