Today I watched the fantastic comedian Simon Munnery. I'd say he's one of the best stand-ups that I'm aware of. If I were to compile a top ten he'd be in there, as is the case if I compiled a top five, or indeed a top three. I'm not going to make such a list though because I'd only regret it. Here is his official unofficial website. Not much on it but it at least gives you an idea of what I'm writing about. It's hard to sum up his appeal but I think, like most good comedians, you feel after watching one of his shows that it'd be really good to be his mate.
His act is full of energy and acute observations. During his set he ditched the microphone and took to walking around the crowd. He worked them like a master. It's a gig I'll remember forever. Really good. I strongly suggest you put him on your list of things to do.
Also I saw a double act called 'The Toothpaste Expedition' do 20 minutes. It's hard to work out if they were funny or not because I was so busy laughing at a heckle which pierced any pretentions of surreal nonsense they were trying to play with right at the start of the show. The bloke came on with a false mustache and a balaclava and stood in sort of running pose. He did this for about 3 or 4 minutes in silence until a song came on. As he stood there, doing nothing and 'being surreal' I heard a thick northern accent behind me pipe up with;
"Fo*kin 'ell - a fiver for this?".
I couldn't stop laughing. It was the juxtaposition of wacky student nonsense with some solid working class pragmatism. It tickled me for a good 20 minutes which, oddly enough, was all the Toothpaste Expedition decided to do. They didn't seem to be going down too badly but I suspect the audience's patience was starting to wane a bit. I dunno. Odd gig and an odd act. I'd like to see them again just to work out if they were any good or not*.
The real revelation of the night though was the show's compare John Cooper. Blo#dy hell he was good. I've always thought he was a good compare but on Friday he was effectively an extra act doing loads of really natural material. Story telling his way through the night and seeming to just have fun with it. It was great to watch. I'm a huge fan of live comedy and would storngly urge you to go out and watch it yourself. There's no better entertainment. F#ck watching it on the telly. It's not the same at all. I've sat through hours of "live" comedy on the telly and not laughed once. Seriously, if you've never been to a live gig get up off your a#se and go to one somewhere.
If you live in Manchester make it one that John Cooper is involved in and if you live in Sheffield look for Toby Foster. London and you've got loads to choose from but my mate Rob Deb's very good. Birmingham, Tom Binns. Where else is there in the world? Loads of places. Erm. Anyway. You get the idea.
*After my unintentionally surreal attempts at stand-up comedy I'm not in a good place to slag anyone off here so perhaps it's best that I lie and say I laughed all the way through their set. Actually that's not a lie. I really was laughing for 20 minutes at the bloke behind me and his well placed heckle. It's making me chuckle now. Like the bloke who said I was s#it, there's something beautiful about a good solid heckle. Doesn't even need to be witty. I'm going to start writing my new material tonight after I've got this blog upto date. I'm going to write a set about what it's like being rubbish at comedy. I think I should include something about heckles.