I am not a reviewer in any way, but I wanted to write something about this weekend more as a way for me to remember it. I managed to not take a single photo. So here is the run down and my thoughts on my weekend in London at the Comedy Crawl.
I stayed with a lovely friend Rob for the weekend, we’d arranged that I should come down in the afternoon as we couldn’t get our wristbands until 5pm. However, on the journey down there were one or two confusing tweets from comedians I follow saying they would be on in the afternoon for comedy crawl. This must just be a part of Camden crawl? I thought, comedy crawl ticket holders can’t see they daytime events can they? The confusion began early, and got worse later on.
Let’s get the rant out of the way first, then the happy bits to finish…
Many people had asked the Comedy Crawl organisers for line ups and times for each venue so that we could plan what we could see, frustratingly we were not given one until we collected our wristband on they day. A couple of other websites released timetables but we were unsure of their accuracy. I do think many regular comedy fans would given the Comedy Crawl a miss because of this, and I don’t blame them. I don’t get much chance to see many of the acts billed so happily saw a mix, but for Londoners who can see many of the acts any day of the week, they’d need to be able to timetable to see who they wanted to and make it worth the £35 entrance fee. Here’s where it got even more annoying… we collected our “Official Programme” and immediately noticed problems. It was very inaccurate. So we asked at a venue to find out that the information on the “Official Programme” was from months ago, so of course everything had changed since then. With no update from the Comedy Crawl on their website and a programme not worth the paper it was printed on we were very annoyed and tried to plan who to see with very limited and inaccurate information. Oh, then we got more annoyed when one of the promoters told us that they expected comedy crawl ticket holders to be able to see the daytime comedy which had been on since 2pm… we missed hours of comedy! (Don’t worry it does get better). The last frustrating part of the whole event was some of the venues and how they were managed. Running alongside the Camden Crawl there were many people there for the music and the booze. If the organisers had an ounce of sense they would have realised that letting drunk music fans into venues where there was comedy on was not a great idea. Particularly in the Knock2bag venue The Wheelbarrow you could barely hear the acts even when sat 3 feet away thanks to the people chatting at the bar. The security staff seemed to have different rules in each venue, at Belushi’s for instance where Fat Tuesday were the hosts the security were great and didn’t let really what they drunk people in and kept it a comedy only venue, which made for a great atmosphere. It just all seemed… unplanned, like they hadn’t even thought it through. I really felt sorry for the promoters and acts who were dealt such a difficult hand and did the best they could with what they had.
The good bit..
Despite all of the problems we did manage to see some acts on the first night, and by the second day we knew we could see the daytime acts and each venue put their line up on the venue doors, so we were able to plan. I was not impressed with Comedy Crawl tweeting that we could see daytime acts with the hashtag #Winning, WTF? How is it winning when most of the people attending don’t even know they can come 5 hours early unless they follow the twitter feed? They still didn’t update the website or post up to date programmes anywhere.
So here’s who I saw (I am not reviewing the acts but will put the odd comment to remind myself who I want to see again).
Knock2bag @The Wheelbarrow
William Andrews - an act I hadn’t seen before but will definitely see again, fun use of an MP3 player.
Colin Hoult – Great to see the Andy Parker character again although I was hoping to see some new material, it was perfectly understandable why he didn’t try it in such a noisy and difficult room.
Arnab Chanda – Self depricating comedy can be funny, he just wasn’t for me. Although it was a difficult room, I don’t really appreciate being given permission to laugh by the act. Did not go down well.
Cardinal Burns – Sketch comedy, not mind blowing for me but enjoyable.
Delete The Banjax – Struggled being off microphone with all of the noise in the room. You could see they were not that comfortable. But still I did enjoy the songs and would see them again.
By this time the noise was unbearable and we decided to try another venue, so off to
Really Lovely Comedy @Camden Head
This was a dedicated room upstairs for the gig, which meant an audience that actually listened and watched the acts. It was a very hot room at times, but that just reminded me of Edinburgh fringe. The MCs coped well with people moving in and out of the room between acts, it just could have done with being double the size as often friends could not get in as it was too busy.
William Andrews – We didn’t know he was also doing this venue, but I was glad I saw him again so soon as the different venue made a big difference. He took the act a lot further, appeared more relaxed particularly thanks to his hands free invention.
Luke Benson – Didn’t go down very well.
Get Comedy @ Lock 17
This venue was packed and had the noisy people at the bar problem and seemed to have a higher ratio of drunk twats in it. I did not enjoy being pushed and leaned on.
Tiffany Stevenson – Was as always really good, a great solid set and coped well with the noisy room. I have now seen the leopard print trousers… I wish I hadn’t.
I couldn’t cope with the drunk arguments going on around me so decided to leave and miss Matt Kirshen and Abandoman which was a shame. We even struggled to get out of the building it was so busy, luckily one of the security staff let us sneak out the back way.
Fat Tuesday @Belushi’s
Hal Cruttenden – We arrived just in time to catch most of his set and I was glad I did. What was more amazing was being in a venue where the audience were paying attention.
I said hello to a rather drunk Tiernan Douieb and then had a few more drinks and rants with Neal, Andy, Anna, Kerri and Rob.
We arrived early in the afternoon to try and get some line ups and have brunch. This plan worked well, we managed to find out enough information (with no help from Comedy Crawl organisers) to be able to have a list of comedians we might actually get to see. I do love a good plan and chips for breakfast.
Fat Tuesday and Old Rope @Belushi’s
Not that we knew what was on every where else, but that line up in this venue was brilliant, so we parked our arses and settle in for the afternoon. With Tiernan Douieb the audience was well looked after allowing time for drinks and comfort break while he kept things moving and the rest of the room entertained.
Marek Larwood – The first time I had seen him live and a brilliant character, very funny and energetic with loads of crowd interaction. This is one of those acts I’d love to see more of.
Bethany Black – A Mancunian goth lesbian… I think that was how she described herself. She was very dark and went to those places you are not sure she should for an afternoon set, but I’m very glad she did.
Sir Tim Fitzhigham – I’d seen him at Fullmooners but was very happy to see more of his set and hear more of his tales of adventures in bathtubs.
Sarah Kendall – An Australian lady, a fun set a bit clumsy but funny.
Thom Tuck – Having only seen Thom as part of The Penny Dreadfuls I was excited to see some of his Straight to DVD #STDVD set. I will be seeing the full Edinburgh show, a must see.
Danielle Ward – Another act that I’d only seen as part of something else. She was dark and filthy as I’d expected even if a little distracted by Shappi Khorsandi’s child making a noise at the back of the room, “Does that child know what wanking into a bin means?”. Very funny.
Really Lovely Comedy @Camden Head
We just caught a bit of Sir Tim as we arrived, although this room had a few too many drunk people to appreciate his stories.
Frisky and Mannish – I’d seen them do a short set at 9 lessons and Carols for godless people and was thrilled to see more. I laughed so hard I nearly peed. I have to see more of this.
London Comedy Improv @ Theatro Technis
I had planned to see a few more acts at other venues, but having crammed so much into the afternoon I decided to devote the evening to London Comedy Improv. I’ve seen loads of positive feedback on twitter but had never made it down to one of their regular Wednesday night slots at The Phoenix.
The group was Michael Legge, Tara Flynn, Rufus Hound, Brendan Dempsey, John Voce, a brief visit from Tiernan Douieb and Kirsty Newton on keyboard.
I’m so glad I stayed, it may be difficult to describe but the games and the mix of people worked perfectly to keep me laughing all evening. The people who wandered in late when one of the sets had started were obviously confused not knowing the rules of the game being played at that time, with some people who didn’t stay to figure out what they had missed. Idiots!
The centipede expert and Michael shouting at John until he died were particular highlights. Brilliant, go and see them, they do it every month!
We finished the night with drinks, chats and giggles in a couple of bars, much happier to have had a day of laughter and much less of the stress of Saturday. Overall a great weekend spent with lovely friends and meeting more people. I’m already planning my next London trip.