Sanders, Brown and Dean

So after a long boozy lunch with a mate in Kings Cross I decided it was time to head home. My bus stop is just round the corner from 2Northdown, and I was flagged down by none other than Lou Sanders outside the venue. She was on at any moment, so in  I went and took my seat.

Garett Millerick was the compere for this show, and he was as angry as ever, primarily about his credit card’s customer service team. As a customer service person myself, I identified with the poor lady on the other end of the phone! Even though he did two short regular sets rather than making the audience feel at ease or chatting to them, he was very funny.

Lou’s show this year is all based around shame. She told us a few stories while singing her ‘shame’ jingle as she didn’t have it with her, and also spotted a lady in the front row who wasn’t enjoying it as much as the rest of us! We were having a great time! Lou’s time ended (or did it? No one is sure) but she was soon off to her next gig of the night.

I had spotted Larry Dean outside the venue too when I arrived and I assumed it was just him on next but no. The next act announced was Alfie Brown. I have seen him a few times and I have seen the audience react in different ways! But his ISIS/Daesh material worked well tonight, and there wasn’t too much material that could shock too much.

I had gone to The Bill Murray a few months ago to see Larry Dean and sadly the show was pulled. Not tonight though thankfully! I haven’t seen him live before but had checked out quite a few YouTube clips. He didn’t disappoint, telling us about the struggles of his long distance relationship with his boyfriend in Australia and occasionally lapsing into a character doing ‘London Observational Comedy’. Josh Widdicombe perhaps?

A great night, that I cut short early cos my tiredness was getting to me. It was the always brilliant Max and Ivan on next, but I knew I needed to get home. So thanks to Lou Sanders for grabbing me and the chap from 2Northdown (whose name I have shamefully forgotten) for inviting me in.


Edinburgh previews begin!

Have I over-Herringed myself? This was my 4th gig in 8 days. Still, this was a triple bill with 2 other fantastic comedians: Catie Wilkins and Lou Sanders. I had just seen Catie a couple of weeks ago at the Hen & Chickens and was looking forward to seeing her again. Lou does an occasional podcast with Catie and I had seen her on the same bill as her back in September but unfortunately it was a spur of the moment decision after I had been out in the afternoon and I was stupidly drunk. I do remember really enjoying it though (and I’m quite sure I would have done sober!) On reflection I should have gone home.


“Is that the menu?” – @tfb62

The Edinburgh preview season in June and July is my favourite time of year. As a bit of a nerd, I really enjoy seeing comedians trying out new material, some of which may work, some of which may bomb, and seeing the show change until it is in a fit state to take up to the festival. I’m actually less interested in the final set than watching it all slowly come together over the course of a few gigs. Richard had given us a short preview of the new show “What Is Love Anyway” at AIOTM last night and from the little material there was looks like this who could develop nicely.

I had arranged to meet RichardSimon and Rob at The New Red Lion around 7:45 for the show to start at 8:00. Poor Rob had fallen asleep after a hard day of traffic reporting so we had to carry on without him.

Catie Wilkins

Catie performed for 40 minutes or so, slightly overrunning, but we can easily forgive her for that! Check my last blog for my blurb about her show in detail, but I still love the ‘over bearing mother’ joke. She ended the set by saying “Let’s leave you with something fun” before checking her paper and saying “…errrm… no” which really tickled us! At the start of the set there was a rather annoying woman chatting at the bar which irritated me and probably most of the audience and certainly Catie. I don’t know if she shut up or was asked to leave but either way it was sorted out eventually.

The dramatic Lou Sanders start

Lou Sanders was astonishingly good. It’s only a matter of time surely till she is a household name (if there’s any justice) She explained there wasn’t much tech but to experience the opening of her Edinburgh show we should shut our eyes (as there was no way to plunge the venue into darkness) before galloping round the stage and having a huge party popper to open when the lights went up. The audience member she decided to speak to before the “Wheel of destiny” was Simon, who when he revealed he was a youth worker,  Lou took great points to let us all know that he wasn’t a paedophile (even though she told us that she takes the piss out of comedians who do paedophile jokes!) Simon was also the star of her “This is your life” segment. This show is going to be great. It’s unpredictable, slightly mental and absolutely hilarious!

Lou Sanders

Richard Herring was soon up to close the show. There wasn’t mush new since the last time I had seen the preview of “What Is Love Anyway”, but considering that was yesterday, it’s not surprising. It looks like this show could be quite a different show from his recent ones, and the stories of his childhood loves brought a few “Awww”s from the audience. Due to his rather high work rate (touring his last show, “Christ On A Bike”, writing a BBC script, AIOTM, and the Collings & Herrin podcast) there hasn’t been a huge amount of progress on this yet, but the potential is there for a great show. The story of his first romance as a 10 year old and not being sure what to do, as well as the crush he had on an older girl from the safety of a bus is both lovely and funny and it will be very interesting to see how this show progresses.

Richard Herring

The new material was probably around 20 minutes or so, so he decided to do some old routines and started with his “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire” routine. After this, he declared that he would try an older routine that he wasn’t sure if he would remember. So this was the first time I had seen the “Give me head until I’m dead” routine (from ‘Someone Likes Yoghurt’?) live, and was particularly good as he addressed a lot of it directly to my mate Richard, after asking him if he had ever experienced a blow job.

As I was leaving I said a brief goodbye to Catie & Richard (Lou had left a while ago) and said that it was good that he was putting different material into his “club” set. As I was walking home I thought this may have been misinterpreted and sent a message to Rich explaining what I meant. I was glad to find a reply on Twitter from Rich saying that it was what he thought I meant anyway. It’s always good to end a gig with some slight awkwardness!

Big Noise and Big Fun*

I wasn’t remotely surprised when Jason sat down beside me and jumped up uncomfortably before removing a chicken and a duck from his back pocket before placing them triumphantly on the table.

Anyway it was nice of Tara Flynn to practise her show in Edinburgh for a month before the big event back at The Phoenix. As usual it was also great to see some old Twitter types such as Neal, Rob, Vicky and Jason

Now, I know Tara mainly through the London Comedy Improv. You may know her through that too. Or perhaps you’ve seen her on Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle or the Paul Merton series, “Thank God You’re here”. Or indeed the lady in “Doctors” a few months ago. (I missed this performance sadly). Or indeed as we were reminded later, “The woman from the Utterly Butterly advert.

Opening tonight was London Comedy Improv’s tallest and Irishest member Brendan Dempsey. I had been unaware all this time that Brendan still did stand up (I was obviously ill-informed by Neal earlier) and thought he mainly did comedy acting and the improv, but I’m so glad he does. Brendan has a very gentle calming voice and I lazily compared him to Tara afterwards to Ardal O’Hanlon before she pulled a funny face and told me that it’s probably because he’s Irish. Anyway the point is (and I’ll come back to this later) sometimes the support acts take you by surprise and you can find a whole new realm of comedy to follow.

Tara’s show (Big Noise) is a collection of comedy songs with no particular narrative. No message. No story. Now I have always been suspicious of musical comedy. Sorry, but I just don’t get the whole “Beat me on the bottom with a Woman’s Weekly” stuff.

She opened with a tribute to the “Quirky Ones” (Lily Allen et al) followed by a number of other songs about topics as diverse as Weetabix (with the inexplicable dry bit in the middle) as well as a fantastic 80s Hazel O’Connor style track involving science and nuclear war.

The closing song was an epic German/Irish electronic track about a “custard bastard” (she’s the custard whore.) This is a phrase I shall attempt to use in conversation a lot more than I used to. Tara also gave me a new religion which I have added to my Facebook page (non-practising Buddhist) which has somehow tickled me and sounds better than the rather po-faced “atheist”.  This is a show I really hope Tara can develop, perhaps eventually involving a live band.

You can see a clip of Tara, Brendan and others singing an improvised song (at London Comedy Improv obviously) here

I also went to see Catie Wilkins for the second time in a week. Now this was a spur of the moment decision and I had been “out” most of the afternoon so my memory isn’t all that good ! So forgive me if this ends up rather short.

Opening was Lou Sanders.  I always get nervous seeing comedians I’ve known about and followed on Twitter etc for the first time. I always really want to like them, and it often isn’t the case. But Lou was hilarious ! (Thus linking back to the support act thing I mentioned earlier.) Also a very humble lady. After mentioning to Lou on twitter that I had enjoyed her set, she replied:

“@AndyMcH ahhh thank you! It’s true, I am cocking awesome. X”

It’s good to have that confidence ! I will be seeing her again. (not like that!)

Catie is a relative newcomer to comedy and “Inheritance Tax” was her first hour long show. I remember seeing her do a short set around a year ago opening for Richard Herring at Fat Tuesday and howling when she told her AIDS joke. She was advised not to perform this routine in Brighton as gay people may be offended, but that’s utter rubbish.

Catie seems a little nervous on stage, but this doesn’t detract from how funny she is. If anything it makes her more endearing. She explains that the show isn’t about inheritance tax or fiscal affairs but about comparing herself to her parents to see if she is turning into them. I would probably have chosen a different title, as if I didn’t know who she was I may not have gone to see a show with that title, but that’s neither here nor there.

Highlights include her dad’s Christmas circulars to her whole extended family where her mother has been very ill but he has gone off to the skiing holiday by himself anyway and explaining mum’s illness in all its gory detail whilst explaining how much he enjoyed his holiday, as well as her mum’s fantastic catchphrase – “How dare you come here and say that” – another phrase I will attempt to use more often.

Conscious of how drunk I was, I made my goodbyes as brief as possible as I otherwise would have turned into an annoying pest (again) and headed back to Camden Town and finally home.

Tara Flynn, Brendan Dempsey, Catie Wilkins, and Lou Sanders – see them when you get a chance !!

* Yes I know this is mainly a blog about Tara and Catie and I know that Catie is kown as “Show Pony” in her podcast she does with Lou “Big Fun” Sanders, but “Big Noise & Show Pony” would have been a weird title. Confusing at best. If you have a problem with this, please feel free to leave a comment, or email me. Send me a message on Twitter if you like. But don’t just moan about it. It’s only a title. What’s your problem? To be honest I find your attitude rather poor. Insulting even. I don’t need to do this. I could have just called it “Catie Wilkins & Tara Flynn”, but that’s just two people’s names, and would it have drawn you in as much as “Big Noise & Big Fun”? Now I wish I hadn’t criticised the title of Catie’s show. I know how it feels now. Catie, I’m sorry. But these people just… AARGH. God they wind me up. I shouldn’t let it get to me, but you should see what people are sending me. Then you’d understand. In fact don’t even mention it to me any more. Not interested. Now seeing as Ewen MacIntosh has put his personal number up on Twitter send a text to him instead. I’m just don’t care about your opinions. What????

How dare you come here and say that you custard bastard.