The Laughter Lounge, presented by Comedy Central, happens fortnightly in The Bridge in SUSU, and I went along last week to check out the comedy line up which included former Lets Dance For Comic Relief winner, Charlie Baker. For a live comedy venue, The Bridge is fantastic. It is small enough to feel intimate, but big enough to fill the rather large crowd which turned up on the night. Add to that the food and drinks deals that they put on for the night, and it created a warm, friendly atmosphere before the comedy even started, with people enjoying the platters and nachos, as well as having enough time for conversation to chill out before the evening’s events got started.
The nights first act was meant to be emcee Nish Kumar, but due to a mishap with travel (he managed to get the wrong train) first act Fin Taylor valiantly stepped up to fill the space while we waited. This proved to be a perfect solution, as it gave us a taste of Taylor’s act, and didn’t leave the crowd waiting and dissatisfied. Kumar arrived soon after, and more than made up for his tardiness with his performance. His sharp observational comedy which was routed in his experiences with people confused by his ethnic identity. One of the lines that stuck in my head from his performance was undoubtedly “You know what’s worse than racism? Incorrect racism!” as he reflected on some of the things that have been shouted at him over the years. His observations about some time he spent on the Isle of Wright had the audience in stitches, and his conversations with the audience were brilliant – the question “what’s your favourite ship?” to a ship science student was a fantastically funny moment.
Fin Taylor then returned to the stage, and his high energy and comedy maintained the jovial atmosphere in The Bridge. His comic timing was on point, and his observations about moving in with members of the opposite sex, and his ruminations about the uses of a body puff, kept the laughs coming. He is definitely a comedian to keep an eye out for in the future, because I think that his comedy, which was very relevant to the student audience present, could be fantastic given a little polish and honing.
I don’t know if it was because I was expecting more from someone who is currently on a countrywide tour, and wowed at Edinburgh over the summer, but I was distinctly underwhelmed by Baker’s performance. Some of his gags felt juvenile, and his imitations of people gaging at various different things (mainly sexual in nature) went on far too long for my comfort. There were moments however, when the true nature of his show shined through – his tour combines both cabaret and stand up, and I think that with a full band behind him then these sections where he shows off his fantastic voice and off beat humour based upon musical lyrics could be outstanding. There was a genius moment where he turned a bad bit of audience heckling into a long running joke for the rest of his set, but over all I just felt like there was something missing. Maybe his style isn’t suited to such a small intimate venue, but I feel like the acts that came before him far outshined him.
Overall, The Laughter Lounge was a great success, and I can’t wait to see what comedians they line up for next year. An evening that I would definitely recommend, because if this night was to go on, the names you don’t recognise may well be the hidden gems.