Thursday, June 22, 2006

Travel: Sunday, 28 May 2006 (4): The Funny Side

After the seven trials of seven brothers, or whatever the myth is, we made it to the venue. Most London comedy venues are either upstairs in a pub or they are downstairs in a pub. This one was downstairs in bar I would describe as trendy, that is large and characterless. It was a reminder, after a few days of drinking “real ale,” that in more popular places the bitters tend to be simply lagers with a little colouring and flavouring.

The space was a great one for comedy. A long cave-like room with a bar at the back so that it doesn’t interfere with the stage. You’d be amazed how many times the bar is almost in the way of the stage or so close that anyone ordering a drink or cleaning glasses disrupts the comedian.

First up was Gordon Southern, a consistent comedian (based on one performance) who had the crowd from the word go. He was followed by John Gordillo, who is one of those comedians whose ideas are often better than the realisation. It made him less consistent but he did well and I expect does great with highly intelligent audiences. Not to denigrate the audience this night. They were pretty smart for a bunch of drunken Brits.

The headliner was Jason John Whitehead, a Canadian who for a long time has been running around these shores. He was late due to driving in London, so John Gordillo filled in for a bit. Jason John Whitehead’s act is that of a drunk Canadian in awe and bemused at thing British. It’s a good stance to take here. And I am sure if the audience had been more forgiving for his tardiness and he had had more time to mentally prepare himself rather than being stuck in traffic, it would have gone a whole lot better. As it was the Bank-Holiday audience was up for it and enjoyed it but not as much as it had earlier.

When the audience has left and the first two comedians had gone home or onto their next gig, the organisers could start breathing again. It was time to head out and have a final beer or two. Now, in my absence, I am sure I had been told that there was now 24-hour drinking in the UK. As a result of this, the sleasepapers had predicted drunken riots on our streets 24-7, under-age girls drowning in seas of vomit, etc. But you try finding a bar open after 11 pm. We couldn’t. Sure it was a Sunday, but it was a bank holiday, thus of a similar status to Saturday. Where is the 24-hour beer culture? Where are my riots? Where is the sea of vomit? Tsk.

The return journey was uneventful. A medium length tube ride followed by a very short bus ride to get to the half-closed station and finally a brief walk to get to the hotel where we collapsed in out 4-star wardrobe.

Should you wish to go to a The Funny Side show, check out:

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