Stand Up Straight
The Old Joint Stock is my favourite pub in Birmingham. One of the few Fullers pubs outside of London, it used to be a Victorian bank (back in the days when banks were built like churches. Cower before our financial strength, peasant). Upstairs there exists a maze of doors and corridors, and some of the rooms beyond some of it have recently (-ish) been opened up as a theatre. I’ve been keen to see it for a while (I’m still sad that the Einstellung/Rich Batsford collaboratory gig there sold out before I could get a ticket), and my chance came when a series of previews/warm-ups for Edinburgh festival comedy shows took place. I didn’t actually manage to get to any of them before the very last one, but it’s a good job I made it to that one. Nyki and I were amongst a grand total of six (count ’em) punters (joined in the room by the two comics themselves, two of their friends, and three employees of the venue).
Okse, our first turn, seemed affected. He has an ever-so-slightly smug delivery, but (and I don’t know why) I really get the feeling that it was just because he was a bit uncomfortable about doing his thing to such a very small number of people. His show (entitled Umpteen Things) was based around a series of tales and stories from his life and upbringing, although it did seem that some of his anecdotes-as-jokes were, well, just anecdotes. It was amusing on the whole, though, and that’s surely the point of this lark. The ending was really sweet, too, explaining why a shoebox was sitting on the table next to him for the whole thing. I won’t spoil it for anyone who might yet get to see it.
Karen Bayley had a much more confident and effective delivery (without losing any warmth or friendliness), and the dearth of people didn’t seem to provide any sort of problem for her. Her show (“The More You Pee, The Less You Cry”) was based around the time she was rushed off to hospital with meningitis (while wearing a Dolly Parton t-shirt) and the ways in which she now tries to be more positive in her life. I laughed a lot. She really reminded me of someone, but I just cannot put my finger on precisely who.
You’ll note, of course, that I simply do not know how to write about comedy. Sorry about that.