Review: Laughter Lounge at The Bridge (26/09/13)

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I have a confession to make. Much to my embarrassment I have never been to see a comedy show before. I put it down mainly to my ruthlessly cynical outlook on life and general miserable persona, but on a whim of rare light heartedness I decided to go along to the Laughter Lounge at The Bridge. The first thing that surprised me was the overwhelming amount of freshers who attended the show. These were obviously the freshers whose livers had pleaded with them to politely sip beer in favour of another night of heavy drinking.

The compere for the evening was Jim Smallman, who certainly knew how to handle a crowd. His style was natural and instantly friendly. Admittedly the crowd began the evening extremely subdued and altogether too polite, however he managed to prise everyone out of their shells and get them excited for the first act. – Grace Pattle

The compere, Jim Smallman, was not necessarily my kind of comedian, but seemed to appeal to the majority. I found him to be excessively ‘shouty’, but to be fair – when questioned – the crowd appeared to be made up of freshers studying geophysics and the like and thus definitely needed livening up. At one point he asked if there were any second or third years present; Grace and I were disinclined to reply, knowing ourselves to be in the overwhelming minority, which may be a reflection on us, to be honest. – Cat Olley

The first act up was Ian Smith. Initially he didn’t strike as someone who was entirely confident with performing on stage. However he soon warmed up once he’d got into the swing of his routine. The routine was largely based upon his hypochondria, with mentions of various different trips to the doctors. The climax of the joke was him recounting an embarrassing incident in a pharmacist where he had to ask for the rather aptly named Anusol. No explanation needed here as to what he needed treatment for. I did enjoy his act but I felt his material began to wear thin near to the end of his set. As a fellow hypochondriac I sympathised with him but unfortunately he only managed to eek out a chuckle from me. – Grace Pattle

Ian Smith’s set teetered on the edge of success and failure throughout, but this seemed almost intentionally manipulated by Ian. He was delightfully awkward, and highly likeable, but occasionally seemed to struggle somewhat on stage, and admitted that he had deviated massively from his material. He had a distinctly ‘meta’ take on comedy, referring to how well he felt each joke had gone after he’d told it, and at one point eliciting laughs from the crowd by ridiculing them for believing an anecdote he’d just told. My favourite of the three comedians. – Cat Olley

Next up was John Robins. He bounced onto the stage full of life and energy. He began confessing that it was over a decade that he had been a uni student – a depressing thought for all involved. He managed to captivate the audience throughout, with the highlight of his set being an embarrassing story involving the London Underground, his hairy balls and unfortunately placed holes in his jeans. He managed to make me genuinely laugh. – Grace Pattle

By the time John Robins took the stage, the crowd had relaxed and wanted to laugh. Enthusiastic, Robins elicited good responses all round for his set, occasionally taking more of a risk with slightly more risqué jokes. As mentioned by Grace, his story about the Tube and his accidental flashing was perfection and had many in hysterics. The relative simplicity of the story only proves Robins as a great comedic talent. He certainly ensured the evening ended on a high point. – Cat Olley

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Hi I'm Grace I risk sounding disgustingly cliched but I cannot remember a time when music wasn't part of my life. I love going to gigs and have been known to dabble in a bit of gigging and song writing myself.

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