Category: Comedy Virgins

Watching A Comedy Chum – Part 3

For the last month or so I’ve had 2 of my chums signed up to the Comedy Virgin’s gig at The Cavendish Arms in Stockwell. It has been in my calendar for a while and I’ve been looking forward to it.

I got there plenty early and bumped into one of the guys from the comedy course I did in December. We talked about what our plans were for the future regarding comedy. He has a plan of lasting 5 minutes at the Comedy Store’s Gong Show. For him that is the measure of ‘success’ and that comedy is not a career that he is interested in. This is very different to what I’d consider success to be and it was strange to hear a view different to my own. He is planning on fine-tuning his set from the comedy show-case to give him a tight 5 for the Gong Show… I wish him the best of luck for it.

Regarding the chum’s I was attending to support, well 1 turned up and other was unfortunately ill. The guy who turned up was Chaand and he had threatened to bring 35 people to the gig! I’m not sure Comedy Virgin’s could handle that many extra people but it would have to cope. Chaand had written some new material for the gig and had it printed out, word for word, on A4 sheets of paper. He wanted to go through it to us two and we settled down to hear it.

The first thing we both noticed was Chaand’s usually excellent delivery was stilted. He was reading the words and then tripping up over them and missing bits out. Both of us advised him to write some bullet points to remind him and to have faith on him knowing the stuff he had written. 10 minutes later and he had his bullet points written out and the delivery was so much better.

We were called into the gig and took our seats. Some-how Chaand was front row and centre. He seemed very eager to get up there. The Host (Paul) did a great job warming up the room and advising of the rules. The room was PACKED and there were a few very drunk people there already who felt they needed to join in. There were also a lot of people just talking all the time which was a little unfair on the acts.

The acts came on stage thick and faster. Based on the sign-up list at the door there were well over 20 acts looking to perform so it would be a LONG night! I decided before we sat down that if Chaand was on in the first half, I’d leave at the interval. Not in the spirit of the bringer show but I felt with the support Chaand already had, one less wouldn’t be a problem. I did see one of the acts leave at the same time so I wasn’t the worst person there!

Eventually Chaand got called up to the stage and began his set. With just his small bullet points rather than reams of paper he was a lot more confident up there. I think this was a different experience for Chaand from the Comedy Showcase but he took control of the crowd well. His material was solid and he got plenty of laughs. I think he could have easily done another 3 or 4 minutes with the material I saw earlier in the evening however the strick 5 minute set time at Comedy Virgins is not to be questioned!

Hopefully Chaand will do more gigs and get further confidence in his comedy self. I also look forward to seeing him on ‘Dinner Date’ and see how he copes with the food from strangers!

Fancy listening to it? Click it below.

Watching A Comedy Chum – Part 2

Late Sunday afternoon I got a message in a group chat from one of the guys off my Comedy Showcase course. He’d been let down by a mate for a ‘bringer’ show he was taking part in and needed his +1 to be able to perform. It was a Sunday night, but more importantly I always want to help support my friends with their comedy so I agreed to be there.

The venue was ‘Comedy Virgins’ at the Cavendish Arms, in Stockwell.

I drove there but it is about a 10 minute walk from Stockwell Tube Station. From the outside there is nothing to suggest there is anything being held there. When I arrived inside, it really felt like I was in the wrong place. A pub, next to a housing estate with no signs of there being comedy on. I checked the postcode and this definitely was the right place!

I had never attended a Bringer show before but the concept is one which splits the comedy community. Some people think it is a preying on comedians to help a venue make loads on drinks; others believe it helps improve audience sizes through increasing ‘normal’ audience members and not just have the acts play to a room full of comedians waiting to perform.

My chum arrived and put his name down on the list – number 11. We weren’t sure where he would end up on the bill but 2nd half seemed to be where we thought he would perform.

The doors opened and we grabbed some seats. Not front row but on an end so he could get up easily when it was his turn. The room quickly filled and before too long the compare – Paul Langton  – took to the stage. He explained the set up of the night, how it was an extra show due to so much interest in taking part. He also explained to make it fair to everyone there were some rules.

  • 5 Minutes only
  • Don’t leave after your set
  • If you like an act, at the end of their set shout ‘buy them a drink’ as well as whooping and a hollering.

The Compare then pulled a number out of his wine-bucket tombola……The first act of the night was…..number 11 – My chum!

As the first act of the night a massive round of applause carried him from his seat to the stage. The set started strong and kept building. The audience loved the punchlines and some of the comparisons (‘Why do we have seatbelts on planes but not on buses?’). They laughed at the funny bits and chuckled when he explained his broken fingers.

The 5 minutes passed quickly and soon his set was over. The audience were going wild and when the compare got back on stage there was a loud chant of ‘buy him a drink! Buy him a drink!’ so the first act of the night also became the first act to have a drink bought for them. It did mean he would be part of the ‘clap-off’ at the end of the night for the limited edition winner’s trophy.

All the acts for the rest of the evening made me chuckle. Unknown to me, the smart looking business man with a florida tan sat next to me, was down on the list and went up to perform. 4 minutes in and he got the 1 minute warning . At which point he gave the tech-desk a nod and they started some music. The music was stripping music! The shirt came off, then the trousers….under which he had fishnets stockings and high-heels hidden in his trainers. Very different to everything else on the night but really well received!

At the end of the evening there were 8 acts on stage who all got the ‘buy them a drink!’ shout from the crowd. They were then in a clap-off in pairs. My friend was in the first pair but it was closely fought and unfortunately he was the first person to be sent back to the audience. Eventually the final two were so closely matched that they actually become JOINT WINNERS.

As I left the pub I thought about what a great evening it had been. The venue was a proper set-up for comedy and the audience really did help to keep the laughter and applause going for all the acts all evening.

I’m due back here on Wednesday to see some other friends of mine perform. 2 people this time. At least I know what to expect and I’m certainly looking forward to it.