Thursday, 8 September 2011

Greenwich Comedy Festival

Mrs Peeps surprised me recently with tickets for the Greenwich Comedy Festival (5-11th September) to see my favourite current comic, Micky Flannagan. I wasn't entirely convinced - the tickets were inexpensive, the event was in a tent and I hadn't heard of the two support acts. This was Greenwich, not Hammersmith and I was expecting two poor warm up acts and possibly a Micky Flannagan cashing in on his new found fame by re-telling the "chicken children" and doing his "cockney walk."

I couldn't have been more wrong on all accounts. We managed a quick main in the Old Brewery Restaurant on the site beforehand - somewhere I have been meaning to visit since it opened - decent enough. The tent was absolutely enormous, holding 1800 people and it was filled to the rafters. The set-up at the Old Naval College is pretty impressive too with plenty of toilets, beer tents, Pimms bus etc (although it couldn't cope with Beer and Jazz Festival a couple of Summer's back).

The MC for the evening was Dan Atkinson and he was a solid enough warm-up man who told the single funniest joke of the evening (not repeatable on tinternet). We then got Brighton comic Seann Walsh who started slowly and improved strongly, relying on personal observational humour and acted improvisations for most of his laughs. He was a decent enough turn.

Tom Stade was someone I recognised even if his name was unfamiliar. He is a Canadian who relies on precise observations of living in the UK as well as sending himself, Canadians and Americans up. He was brilliant and had the tent rocking. I would have paid my £18 to hear him on his own and feared he had upstaged the main act.

Micky-boy wasn't to be outdone though and fully justified his top line billing with a string of hilarious tales that come from his working-class Bethnall Green upbringing that strike a perfect cord with those of us of a certain age. He lives in East Dulwich now and began his routine with some riot gags and then went on to tell us about the reaction he had when he first told his East End mates that he was moving. At first he said it was to Libya and he received platitudes about the weather and the benefits of life under a Dictator. When he then said it was only joking and was moving south of the river, it was all "oh sorry to hear that Micky, I didn't know things had got so bad." It was funny at the time.

There's still time (and seats I believe) to get down to the festival - plenty of main stream acts yet to come...


ChicagoAddick said...

Now wasn't Micky Flannagan in a double act with a bloke called Derek Killer Hales or have I been out of the country too long?

Bob Miller said...

As a Canadian, but not being familiar with the Canadian comedian Tom Stade, I checked him out on some clips and from what I viewed, I unfortunately must say.......not my cup of tea.

Our country has produced a plethora of great comedians over the past number of years, despite the fact our national image tends to perceived as a country of quiet, polite and uninteresting people.

Most of our prominent artists and entertainers are wrongly identified as being American, because the Excited States is where you have to make your mark.

But please check out this somewhat arbitrary, off-the-top of my head list of Canadian comedians/comic actors: Jim Carrey, John Candy, Rich Little, David Steinberg, Lorne Michaels (producer of the iconic Saturday Night Live), Leslie Nielson, Martin Short, Russel Peters, Eugene Levy, Dan Ackroyd, Dave Broadfoot, Tommy Chong, Derek Edwards, Michael J. Fox, Norm MacDonald, Colin Mochrie, Rick Moranis, Mike Meyers, Dave Thomas, Howie Mandell, Phil Hartman, Mort Sahl, Johnny Wayne, Frank Shuster, Catherine O'Hara, Sandra Shamus, Gilda Radner, Andrea Martin.....and dozens and dozens of excellent comedy club performers whose names are known to but a few.

So, we Canadians are just trying to help keep the world laughing!

Dave said...

Bob - Tom Stade is pretty strong, so I know he might never be mainstream but his timing and delivery were superb and personally he was right up my street. Thank you for taking the time to respond and let me know just how widespread the mistaken nationality is. Jim Carrey, John Candy and Dan Ackroyd? Thought they were all "gun-toting retards," to quote Mr Stade.

Bob Miller said...

Dave, I think I would have to catch Stade live and in person to fully evaluate his schtick. No, those boys are all Canucks and not Yanks. Jim Carrey attended high school in nearby Burlington (where his older sister still drives a school bus), while Marty Short (I know his brother quite well) and Eugene Levy are from here in Hamilton. John Candy was a Toronto boy and Dan Ackroyd is from Ottawa. Speaking of mistaken nationality, I have been visiting the UK off and on for over 40 years and not once have ever been asked if I was a Canadian. I am constantly asked "where are you from in the States?" This coming trip over, I have an old Molson Canadian (beer)baseball hat that says "I Am Canadian" which I plan on wearing at appropriate times, such as to the Charlton at Sheffield United away match.

Dave said...

Bob - I learnt many years ago that so many visiting Canadians wear the Maple Leaf badge pre isrly in order to minimise being taken for Yanks. As a consequence, I invariably ask visitors North American accents which part of Canada they are from. I also ask Antipodians if they are from North or South Island for the same reason! At least the accent of French Canadians is a little more recognisable!