Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 17th May 2013

Dan EvansAll good things come to an end, and last Friday’s Screaming Blue Murder was the last of this season. It’s been a fantastic series of comedy nights, with I would guess record attendances and a really good range of comics taking to the stage. Our compere was Dan Evans, as usual, ever genial apart from when he puts the boot in to deserving front row spectators. Thanks Dan for coming up with some new material and also for knowing when the old stuff is what they really want!

Joe RowntreeAs has been the pattern recently, of the three comics, one was new to us and two we had seen before. Our newby this week was Joe Rowntree, an affable chap who looks like the kind you could share a happy pint with. He has a relatively quiet style which means his wicked punchline moments have a good shock value. We enjoyed his exploration of the nastier side of his wife, and the tricks she plays on him when he’s not expecting it, and I really loved his routine about Prince William wanking; yes, honestly. Excellent stuff.

Jen BristerSecond up was Jen Brister, who we enjoyed seeing here a couple of years ago. Some of her material was the same as last time – including the brilliant coming out as lesbian to her Spanish catholic mother, but there was also some new stuff about visiting friends with new babies and her interactions with men, and she also maintained an excellent rapport with the audience. Extremely funny and she got a great reception.

Josh HowieFinal act was Josh Howie, who we saw nearly two years ago and who we didn’t like at all that evening. This time round was a fascinating experience. He started off by talking to the front row which sparked off about twenty minutes of really hilarious observational comedy, about a disastrous visit to the hospital with his wife which centred on his need to be proved right and to get his own back. It absolutely tapped in to one of the least honourable aspects of most relationships and it was spot on. A vast improvement on last time! Then he realised he still had about ten minutes left to do, which he introduced by saying “and I haven’t even talked about blacks and Muslims yet”. I sighed inwardly as he reverted to the type of jokes I despised last time. He wasn’t perhaps quite so offensive this time round, but it’s such a shame that he can’t get past this really rather unpleasant material.

Nevertheless a great night. No doubt the season will start again in the autumn. I will be first in the queue!

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