Thank goodness that comedy is back! After the last two long years where comedy was in short supply, The Laughterhouse Live Comedy Show made a welcome return with its Christmas Special at the prestigious Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool.where an array of comedic talent entertained the audience.
This venue did what it does best. It set the Christmas party atmosphere with a jubilant upbeat tone as ‘guests’ entered the impressive foyer to Christmas music that was loud yet enticing.
The Christmas comedy extravaganza moved from the usual location of The Slaughterhouse to this bigger venue allowing more people access to some of the circuit’s biggest names. Every seat in the stalls, circle and boxes were filled with high anticipation as compare, Neil Fitzmorris, (The Office & Phoenix Nights) delivered a sterling performance in his own right whilst keeping the show running to time. Neil’s sets included a hilarious diatribe of: political satire Tory bashing, the exploits of his mother-in-law during lockdown when she moved in with their family, sex in your 40s and beyond. No late arriving audience member was safe and it was safe to say that you never got up to go to the bar or toilet when he was on stage as this invited attention.
First up was Essex comedian Markus Birdman. Certainly one to watch despite his advanced years. He mainly covered the macabre topics of death and strokes. He was at pains to point out that as a survivor of two strokes, he was allowed to make these ribald jokes without fear of retribution. He was self depreciating in an utterly hilarious way. He spoke about his saggy genitalia and how being half blind, he backed onto a toilet one night at the stroke unit where he was receiving rehabilitation, to find that he had sat on another patient who was already sitting on the toilet. His interesting account of the next twenty minutes had the audience laughing out loud.
Alyson June Smith from Canada next took to the stage. She allowed the audience to be at peace with her looking like a cross between Roseanne Barr and Velma from Scooby Doo. Her performance was original and right up to date. Her analogy of Eurovision versus the Hunger Games was ‘spot on’ explaining how we, the UK, reluctantly participate yet, we always shrivel up and die no matter how hard we try. Smith was self-deprecating as she was a larger lady herself so felt she could joke about her passion for Greggs, in particular their steak bakes and how bullies pick on fat kids, yet, they usually grow up to be chubby chasers themselves.. Not just with me, however, the whole audience was in uproar when she compared the stress that ‘proper’ teachers are under in this current climate compared to the stress of primary teachers who have a penchant for glitter and weird obsession with glue sticks.
The best performance by a long mile on the night was by rising star, Dan Tiernan. This twenty six year old had the entire audience in raptures from the start to finish of his set. He was pure unadulterated genius that emitted raucous belly laughs from the all age audience. He joked about being a gay dyspraxic and how his lack of fine motor skills ensured an eventful sexual experience for any of his dates. Dan gave a cyclical performance regarding his parents wanting him to be a Royal Marine rather than an entertainer. This led neatly into side splitting anecdotes about his non mainstream school’s dance troupe called… Neuro Diversity. He entertained with words however his movements and presence on the stage were equally hilarious. Dan is definitely one to watch. He will rise to the top of his profession although his material is definitely not suitable for prime time TV as his material is original and up to date. His set included his obsession with Grinder, ‘Dick Pics, Porn and the misunderstood roles of dinner ladies.
Tom Stade’s performance was confusing and in most parts as unfathomable as it was unfunny. His whole performance was based upon the topic of sex toys which he calls, enhancers. Every sexual prefence came in for comment with no-one safe from the ‘bashing’ he gave. His laboured tales about anal beads and his narrative about his hospital visit went on for too long. Unfortunately the audience lost interest and whilst they did applaud at the end of his set it could not be classed as enthusiastic.
Following the break and after a massive build up by the compère, Reginald D. Hunter took to the stage. Sadly, for not only my husband and myself but judging by the reactions from the audience and the low level applause at the end of his set they also found him highly disappointing! Hunter mumbled through his performance. His poor enunciation meant that many jokes which, I’m sure were funny, simply could not be heard. With punch lines missed and unfunny rants about: right wing Christians, extremists, Megan Markle and a comparison between Uncle Fluffy and Bill Cosby the audience hardly clapped. He lost them within the first ten minutes of his set and towards the end, I simply wanted it to end especially when he told the audience that they could just leave and wait outside if they found him offensive. It wasn’t that he was offensive, it was simply that he was not funny. This was a bad day at the office and he needs to treat every performance as if it is The London Palladium as we are his paying public that will support his career.
The final act was TV comic Milton Jones. He gave a safe TV style performance. Nothing was notable or highly amusing however he did deliver a barrage of one liners. This is what he is known for however outside of TV, he could have taken a chance with his material. Afterall, It was an over 18s show and this was simply very tame. Jones’ material again covered topics of death with his most funny line on this topic being that the only way to avoid the fuel crisis is to die. I will leave it to you to decide whether one line observational comedy is worth the high price of the ticket.