February 11, 2011
We'll get to this guy in a moment, promise.
It’s a strange experience, chuckling at jokes about a gigantic Bristolian’s sexual prowess, or one man’s prolonged encounter with a Japanese toilet, knowing full well that come the next morning the same space will be filled with a congregation praying to God. But that is the aim of The Invisible Dot Club, to put great comedy in unique spaces and their “Live at the Chapel” series see an eclectic mix of up-and-coming and household names perform to a tea drinking audience in an incredible listed Church in Islington (comedy without alcohol???).
Leading the “congregation” was JC erm... I mean Jarred Christmas – a comedian I’d only seen previously in one of JC’s (Jimmy Carr of course) ubiquitous ‘list programmes’ on channel 4 (100 Greatest Soups or something). Christmas, a bit like a Kiwi Jack Black, was an excellent compere and standup, at ease playing with the audience. Last year’s winner of Chortle’s Compere of the year, it’s only a matter of time before we see him compereing big awards dos and selling out big venues. I thought in particular, his “Saw” joke was inspired:
Do you reckon they called the 'Saw' films saw so that people would say:
"Did you see saw?"
"Yeah I saw Saw."
"Did you see Saw 2?"
"I saw Saw 2 too"
"Did you see Saw 3?"
"No but I saw Saw 4"
"What did you see Saw 4 before you saw Saw 3 for?"
[As a non-comedic side note, playing in the breaks and performing the "stings" was the fantastic house band featuring our very own virtuoso Billy Adamson on guitar. We'll no doubt be writing about Billy in the future but for now, back to the funny people.]
First act of the evening was Doc Brown. Not a mad white haired scientist wanting to tell you about his flux capacitor, but former rapper and brother of Zadie Smith. Not opinionated or angry enough for rap fame, Doc has now successfully turned his talents to comedy. Doc’s material centres on his life moving from a wannabe “gangsta” on the streets to his now very middle-class-married-with-2-kids, “Waitrose” existence with a few spoof raps and street slang to middle class translations being the highlight. Those event industry professionals reading this will probably recognise Doc as the host of 2010’s Event Awards in The Roundhouse. His warm and confident persona make him perfect for this kind of event, this will eventually become just one of many.
Few rappers are self aware enough to realise they should move into comedy - So Doc Brown is a rarity.
American comedian Dave Hill was a bit of a strange one, he began by monotonically reading a story about an elephant in an Indian village called named Osama Bin Laden. I think his set would probably have to be seen in full to fully ‘get’. I think he’s probably a bit too ‘blue’ and surreal to be suitable for our events and he’s also based in the US, but if you think you've got an event that can handle something a little racier, Dave is worth a look.
Looking like 50% of a Simon and Garfunkel Tribute Band (we do these!), Radio 4 regular Andy "The Mighty Zaltor" Zaltzman was next on the stage. His material is described as highly political and with a cross looking promo photo, you might expect to be berated for 20 minutes with furious polemical semi-comedy (which is fine if you're into that sort of things) but I was pleasantly surprised to find him warm and engaging. A touch geeky but always intelligent, Zaltzman hardly pauses for breath in his fast paced, wordy set. Andy made a mistake early on which I think threw him a bit, but his recovery from it was so creative and funny that it didn’t matter. He would be perfect for an educated audience able to keep up with his pop culture/literary allusions and quick wit (surely that's all of our clients?) or any corporate event with an emphasis on current affairs and satire.
"One reason I'm doing stand up comedy is so that I don't have to share half the money with you-know-who," began headliner Stephen Merchant. 6 ft 7 long, with goggley eyes and a Bristolian accent, it seems that Stephen was born to do comedy! His set was mainly self-deprecation based around his strange appearance and his ongoing hunt for a wife (“not a groupie, a wife”). and is quite recent foray into stand up has been met with great reviews so far and his universal appeal looks to give “you-know-who” a run for his money particularly after Golden Globes Gate.