Headlines Comedy Club Chiswick

Chris Martin on the latest line-ups at our local comedy venue

headliners chiswickAs I sat in ‘West London’s only purpose built comedy club’ looking round at the contemporary open brickwork walls and the crowd, predominantly made up of trendy young professionals with a few more experienced viewers (including Madness’s front man Suggs), I wondered whether the evening’s entertainment would match up to my previous two visits. It was the Friday of the club’s first year anniversary and the line up consisted of Simon Evans -who has appeared on the ‘Stand-Up Show’ (Paramount Comedy Channel), Rob Brydon -star of ‘Marion and Jeff’ (BB2) and advertisement voice over extraordinaire, Ian Stone and Simon Clayton (MC).

The performances definitely eclipsed my expectations especially that of Rob Brydon with his refreshingly simple brand of humour and his eagerness to get the audience to participate in his act.

Armed with a drink, which was always on offer due to the efficient table service, the compere warmed the audience up with some typically standard jokes. His deadpan technique and his continuous self-mockery helped the audience to laugh in patches but as his role entailed he was by no stretch of the imagination hilarious. His banter with the audience was one of his strongest attributes but playing on his half Jamaican half English background got tiresome and his jokes related to this were as predictable as tight t-shirts at Mardi Gras.

The real laughter started when Simon Evans took to the stage pointing out how the strong lighting had caused him to squint so much it appeared as if he had no eye balls. He also illustrated his startling resemblance to Rigsby from ‘Rising Damp’ and Sandy Tovsig and his apparent lack of eyes. His material was not especially original but his line delivery and the variety of subjects he covered in the thirty minute slot that were smoothly linked to one another made him a hit by the end of his set.
His repertoire varied from using his posh accent to patronise and insult Geordie women to witty observational points like the irony in homeless persons favourite beer being named ‘Tennants’. He also touched on the political controversy of the war with Iraq and used his intelligence to illustrate funny interpretations of the situation, which others had not noticed. His performance did not invite hecklers but the one person who threw out an obscure comment had it battered back to him almost immediately.

I, as were the rest of the audience, was spellbound by Rob Brydon’s performance within seconds of his appearance on stage. His material was very simple, which made it uplifting. He based half of it around his native country of Wales and his tone of voice going hand in hand with his delivery meant everything he said was met with laughter.

Brydon’s Tom Jones impression was by a Welsh mile the best one I have ever seen and will be attempting to repeat in the pub to friends. After this the audience were laughing in anticipation of his every gag so he moved onto voice over requests from the audience. He did the Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, Andrex, Ford advert (with the help of two audience members) and my personal favourite, which was the Tango advert and to anyone acquainted with this, was ‘nice to see’.

He ended with a farcically amusing exchange with the two audience members he asked up on stage to recreate the Ford advert. As he departed from the platform he was met with a tumultuous applause, which was the least he deserved after such an entertaining set.

The last performance of the night by Ian Stone was pale in comparison to his predecessor. His style seemed to be a mix of Johnny Vegas and Eddie Izzard, as he was drunk and leapt from subject to subject but lacked the skill and comedy timing to carry this out effectively.

A lot of his material involved shock humour to do with the war in Iraq and gross out humour but these were not received well by the audience. His Jewish background formed the basis for many of his jokes, which were amusing to start with but soon, became tedious.

By the end of his act he had lost the crowd’s attention and he got bogged down in shouting matches with a couple of members of the fidgety audience.

The night however finished on a high when Suggs took to the stage after one to many and worked the audience up into a merry madness (excuse the pun) with a few words of thanks.

In my opinion a visit to the ‘Headliners’ is one of the best ways to spend £20-£30 (£10 entry the rest depends on food and drink) on a Friday or Saturday night in West London. Not only are there good performers of the calibre of Rob Brydon but also it is a well-designed venue with a vibrant atmosphere for both young fashionable types and also those at the midway point of their lives.

Chris Martin

September 9, 2003

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