I think it’s fair to say that, with all the events of 2016, every so often we need a damn good laugh. With the excellent news that last month’s first Comedy at the Ark show was a big success, a second show has followed on a month later and it looks like this is set to become a regular monthly gig – which is great for everyone concerned, especially us as we only live down the road!
Our host for the evening was again the big, jovial Mr Andy, who has a deceptively innocent way of telling you a really dirty joke that you don’t realise is going to be really dirty until you get the punchline. There’s no gentle warm up with Mr Andy – he hits you with the big material right from the start. He asked if anyone had come to the first show last month – and a couple of us replied that we had – and he apologised, saying we’d have to pretend this was the first time we’d heard this material. Well at least he was honest about it! But if he’s going to be our regular monthly host he may have to get some new stuff for us to enjoy.
I really like the structure to the JAM Comedy club evenings; we start with an established performer; then after first interval we have two less well known comics; then after the second interval you get the headline act. It’s balanced and gives a chance for both experienced and new performers alike. Our first act last night was Athena Kugblenu, a very likeable performer with a bright, sparky personality and lots of great comic observations. Her material ranges from her Ghanain/Guyanan heritage to the origin of the tampon and with plenty in between. Her description of a wet perm is spot on and she created some wonderful images about dealing with dreadlocks. A very funny and entertaining performer!
Next up was Stu Woodings, a funny man with a guitar and not afraid to use it; he had a great song inspired by a paint pot that cleverly poked fun of DIY jargon; and another that seemed to be a paean to paedos, which is a bold step and certainly sorts the men out from the boys at a comedy club. He comes across as a very engaging and confident guy and we all really enjoyed his act. Hot on his heels came Jake Pickford, a young chap with a very relaxed approach and a rather hippy, laconic way about him; I don’t think I would be his typical audience member but I thought his different style worked extremely well. His material was very funny and characterfully delivered and he held a very good rapport with the audience.
Our headline act was the brilliant Andy White, whom we saw at the Screaming Blue Murder club four years ago and is still on absolutely top form. Dressed like a Pot Black competitor from the 1970s, he draws on a variety of threads to create an act full of funny faces, characters, voices and ideas. It’s not exactly surreal, with his references to his family and Birmingham, but it’s strangely other-worldly at the same time. I’m delighted to see that Nelson Mandela is still in the act. He went down a storm and must have easily given us forty minutes of great comedy.
Another very successful night! You can find out when the next comedy gig is by keeping an eye on The Ark’s Facebook page!