The first night of Laughter Lounge can be described, at best, as an extremely forgettable experience. As a novice to live stand-up, I was admittedly rather excited. I called a friend and decided to make a night of it. After settling in with a few drinks, the MC, Laura Lexx, an energetic individual, entered the stage.
It became evident from the very start that her jokes largely consisted of poking fun at the audience. Although it could be vaguely (very vaguely) amusing to ask the freshers what they studied and to make fun of the fact that history was completely useless and they were wasting their money studying people that were long dead, by the third or fourth (I cant even remember how many) jokes of the same kind, my will to laugh was slowly being extinguished. We get enough of that by family’s friends and distant family members at awkward dinner parties and don’t have to pay to hear it.
It all took a turn for the worse when she started to ‘jokingly’ be quite rude to some of the audience who weren’t finding the jokes all that funny. The already weak laughter soon turned to forced and extremely awkward ‘ha-ha’s’. The more she kept on swearing at the audience for being shit at laughing the worse it got and all I wanted at that moment was to leave – and the show was only starting, ouch. A particularly cringey moment was when she picked on an audience member for being the ‘most tragically miserable person she had ever seen in her entire life’. The audience went silent as the guy just shrugged his shoulders as if to say ‘what do you want from me?’.
The actually acceptably funny moments were when she brought the attention back to herself, making fun of her hair or poking fun at her tragic life of being a stand up comedian for the freshers of Southampton. However, for the most part it just felt rude and uncomfortable and I was relieved when she left the stage and let the opening act try to remedy some of the damage.
Paul McCaffrey opened his standup saying he was a funny looking individual and everyone laughed, this time, I think, genuinely. His jokes, however crude, were funny. His funniest moment was an anecdote where he told of the time his wife forced him to go with her to one of her friend’s house for dinner and he was made to interact with the wife’s friend’s boring husband. After the friend’s boring husband raved quite a bit about how newly built properties like the one they had just bought were better than old buildings, Paul decided he had had enough and decided to drink. After having had one too many, he passed out and when he woke up he found out he had pissed on the couple’s carpet. He told the audience that he hadn’t had the guts to tell the others the truth whilst seeing them crouched together in a circle observing the puddle and thinking that it must have been a leak and the audience raged with laughter.
Being completely honest he didn’t tell the funniest anecdotes I have ever heard, but they were funny nonetheless and I was a bit more pleased with the evening after the not so pleasant start. Lexx came back on stage, a few more forgettable and slightly rude jokes and she was ready to introduce to the headliner, Andy Askins.
At that moment a meek looking guy comes on with a guitar, adjusts it, tunes it, doesn’t even look at the audience. He is not like the previous guy, his type of humour is an acquired taste as my friend rightly put it. He mainly delivers one-liners and for the most part the audience laughs. It’s personally what I find particularly hilarious, but hey, it’s kind of funny and at least I don’t feel awkward and uncomfortable anymore. Halfway through the performance he reveals he doesn’t play the guitar, it is merely a trick he’s picked up from one of his mates in order to make himself seem more interesting to others and the audience finds it hilarious. He reveals he has started to do it everywhere, in the pub, in the supermarket, to parties, never once playing, the audience again laughs. He goes on to say he is a compulsive liar and starts to sing some original tunes with the guitar which consists of well known songs with the lyrics replaced with crude stories. With his cheeky grin and timely pauses, it worked.
As soon as he leaves the stage in an awkward manner purposely done for its comedic effect, the woman enters again. Unfortunately, she finishes the evening ‘jokingly’ complaining about how we have been a shit audience and asking the audience to please invite other people next time who might not be as shit as us. Everyone claps although I’m not sure they clap because its over and thats what you’re supposed to do or because they actually found it funny. Altogether, the first night of laughter lounge was an ok experience, Im glad I went because I had a few laughs, but I do have to admit, I was glad when it was over.