Review: Tower Bar Comedy Society Stand-Up 2.0

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After the success of their first gig on January 20th, 2011, the university’s Comedy Society returned to the Tower Bar to perform stand-up once more – joined by a packed audience with some having to stand up themselves to see.

Hosting the event was Comedy Society President and co-founder, Ed Carfrae, who introduced each of the acts before they took to the stage, providing his own input in the gaps. This consisted of looking at the adverts in Front magazine, breaking his “banjo string” and repeatedly coming to “giggly girl” as a recurring joke.

The first act of the night was Billy Keable, who discussed Charlie Sheen’s cocaine habit, weird news and how the “Hairy Bikers put butter on things that don’t need butter.” Keable provided a few laughs though they came from the actual stories, rather than his own contribution.

After performing at the first gig, Michael Hutchinson returned as the second act to discuss clubbing, “not of seals” he was quick to point out. He went on to talk of his experience in Lincoln’s “Sugarcubes” nightclub with its “pain-suffering music,” providing his own unique take on the music with his beatboxing.

Along with some Dobby impressions, Hutchinson brought his friend up onto the stage to conclude with a fantastic Christmas dubstep remix of The Pogues classic, “Fairytale of New York,” which had to be seen to be believed.

Loz Whittaker, also a returning performer, spoke of the games he plays with his girlfriend when he goes shopping, how he was offered a “half-price vibrator” in Ann Summers and ending with a letter he wrote to 20th Century Fox, “or should that be 21st Century Fox.” Whittaker provided consistent laughs throughout his set as the gig went into the interval.

Self-described “gentleman hobo” Alex Halsall took to the stage to start the second half with a bold statement of how the north is better than the south of the country. The set went in a different direction from this point, with members of the audience not knowing whether to laugh or cringe at the dark humour on show.

Halsall discussed “things to do before you die” included “playing rugby with a still-born baby” and “telling police where [he] hid Maddie.” This was followed by Hiroshima being described as a “glorified fireworks display” and one-liners about Joseph Fritzl, child abuse and 9/11. While he may have been controversial, the atmosphere of the Tower Bar had picked up ready for the next act.

The penultimate act, Ross Ellis, spoke of how people “Facebook stalk” the person they go on a date with to check out their exes. As the set progressed, he told of when he got a girl back to his place after a second date, only for “Thundercats” to pop up on his YouTube recommended videos.

Unfortunately for Ellis, the set seemed to drag on slightly but the Sean Connery impression at the end ensured the set finished on a high.

The headline act and the highlight of the gig, Sam Chaplin, was quick to point out his name was an anagram of “Anal Chimps.” The set mostly consisted of one-liners such as “I used to sell origami, it was a lot of paper work” and “I don’t normally steal kitchen utensils but I’ll take a whisk” – resulting in him holding a whisk for the majority of the set.

However, it was clear that Chaplin was struggling to find his big finish after Halsall used the same punchline to his joke earlier in the gig. Despite this, the set was a great way to end a very enjoyable gig. Hopefully it won’t be long before the next Comedy Society stand-up night.