Laughter is the best medicine…

Laughter is indeed the best medicine, unless you’re diabetic, in which case Insulin is probably more beneficial. So said Jasper Carrott. And it’s difficult to argue. I’ve been lucky enough to see some great comedians strutt their stuff and deliver their own style of witty repartee and observations. Some in my own backyard (not literally of course, I don’t know if I’d clear Health & Safety) and some I’ve had to travel to. With January almost over, and for the lucky ones, the first pay-day of the year reached intact, here is a run-down of the funny men I’ve seen in action, in no particulat order, except the order in which I remembered them:

Rich Hall
Saw the man twice in Shrewsbury (at the Music Hall). The first time Rich did the whole show, and the second time, he shared the limelight with his alter-ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw. On the first occasion, I made the mistake of needing to go to the toilet mid-way through. Big mistake! No surprises then when he picked on me. The stand out moment for me was when he was talking about getting angry. American’s go on a rampage, shooting people. Us Brits? We write a letter.
The second time was less eventful (I ensured I went for a wee in the interval) and I even met the man and got a signed CD after the show.

Ardal O’Hanlon
Saw Ardal in Telford a while ago now. Having been in awe of him courtesy of his starring role in Father Ted, the chance to see him doing a stand up show was too good to miss (even if I had to take my now ex-wife with me). I haven’t regretted it. He had great observations about relationships and parenting, and even found time to comment on the number of roundabouts in Telford!

Frankie Boyle
Telford was also the venue as I made my acquaintance with Frankie Boyle. He took a moment out of his dark, twisted routine to scan the first couple of rows and made his way along to me. There I was wearing a bright orange T-shirt. I should have known better. A few questions came my way, and ultimately he decided I had the perfect voice for Insurance. I did find him funny to start with, but after a while his cruel, crude jokes start to wear thin when the novelty has gone. Which is probably why Mock The Week were glad when he decided to leave the show.

Dara O’Briain
I saw the big man over in Wolverhampton, and having seen one of his previous live DVD’s, I knew what sort of show to expect. Good stories and great banter with the crowd. He didn’t disappoint. There was a couple of empty seats in the front row I seem to recall, and this provided some good banter with the folks either side of the gap. Also, the night before, Michael McIntyre had done a show, only to trip over and hurt his shoulder!!

Jasper Carrott
All the way to the NIA I went to see the legend himself on what was essentially a Greatest Gags show. Upon booking, you could request a joke and if you were lucky, Jasper would tell the joke/do the routine during the show. Not thinking anything of it, I made my request (‘The Mole’ if anyone’s interested) and completed the ticket booking. Then, as I was sitting in my seat awaiting the start, I noticed the big screen was scrolling through a list of names. Before I knew it, my name had scrolled past!! I don’t think he ended up doing the routine, but who cares?!! All his jokes are funny. My appreciation of Jasper Carrott can be attributed to my dad and his classic cassettes. For this I thank him.

Russell Howard
The third of my visits to the metropolis of Telford. I think he’d only been a regular on Mock The Week for a short time, so hadn’t had the chance to air his routine and impose his character on the show. Proud of his Bristolian roots, but not afraid to poke fun at their less than bright reputation, he was a good showman if a little shouty, but overall an enjoyable time. It’ll be interesting to see his act in a few more years, to see how he’s adapting his act with advancing age.

Stephen K Amos
A first visit to the new Theatre Severn for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Stephen, but I was pleasantly surprised. Plenty of stories about his Nigerian upbringing and observations on present day peculiarities to turn any frown upside down.

These, then, are the comedians I’ve been lucky enough to see in action. There are many more I’d hope to see before my time (or theirs) is up. John Bishop for one, Jason Manford another. Tim Vine has a style of comedy that some find ‘old-hat’ but I think the one-liner jokes are as good as anything.



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