After a successful kick off at the start of the month, The Cellar proved it has even more to offer with its second instalment of the Comedy Club, its new Thursday night live event. A similarly high standard of performers was promised and it rarely disappointed. Sex, drugs and insecurities may have been some of the more predictable topics to cover at a student-aimed comedy night, but they provided plenty of laughs nonetheless.
With its bunker-like architecture and dim lighting, The Cellar could not be a better fit for a comedy night, playing up the stereotype of ‘underground comedy club’ almost to a fault. Although not quite as energetic as its opening night, the crowd was more than reasonable and, as always, receptive to the performers… with the occasional exception.
Leading the show and introducing us to a little of his own material was George Zach, stepping in admirably after the last-minute cancellation of Paul F Taylor. He hyped up the audience with a natural confidence that swept away any doubts about a lack of preparation. The material was fairly anecdotal – covering everything from anecdotes of his student life to a truly eye-watering story about taking a shower (it had to be seen to be believed). The personal and the political went hand in hand (as Nikie Azlli and I discussed in his interview), but the jokes never seemed forced. He proved to be not just an excellent warm up, but a a good act in his own right, too.
The first performer Zach introduced us to was Mike Newall, giving us his world-weary observations on the perils of getting older. Newall seemed to struggle in places to match the standard of the other two performers; he sometimes relied on slightly outdated jokes and most notably the peculiarities of one unimpressed member of the front row. ‘Sam’ lying on the stage proved to be the linchpin of his set. However, there were still laughs to be had as he pointedly refused to bother bridging the age gap.
The lengths of each set proved to be ideal, allowing a range of material to be covered without being repetitive. Headline performer Jim Smallman, who took the role of longest set, showed his twelve years of experience as he held the crowd’s attention with complete ease. Perhaps what was most impressive was his ability to blend different comedic tones, mixing tender anecdotes about his daughter, or more harrowing ones about his past drug use with some sharp and hilarious punchlines. Rounding off the night with impeccable skill, Smallman proved to be a prime example of how the Comedy Club continues to be an entirely worthwhile night.
This is by no means the end of the road – there are still two more events to go this month, with this week’s show being headlined by presenter and experienced stand up performer Tom Deacon. Tickets are £6.45 from the Guild website and include a free drink!
Photo Credit: Liverpool Guild of Students