21st April 2010 - Shepherds Bush - Bar FM
Ascending the steps to the underground 'Bar FM', there seems to be no better setting for a comedy night than this. There seems to be an undeniable sense of other-worldiness in the plush darkness within. The Knock2Bag stage is raised almost imperceptibly from the ground as chairs tables and sofas occupy the surrounding space creating a sense of intimacy. We are all in this together, which is just as well as in a setting this small, very few can escape the ever watchful eye of the comics, especially MC Fergus Craig, starting off the evening with a tailored brand of childish imagery and musings, effortlessly delivered and sandwiched between his sharp wit and impeccable timing.
Tonight's ensemble are a charming mix of established and upcoming talents, and without much ado Mike Wozniak appears onstage, the embodiment of Tom Selleck after a nervous breakdown. With perfect diction he delivers an observational eye, twisted with a surreal cerebral vision, culminating in a story about his father taking a job cleaning mice on the underground. Perfectly executed with a remark about his fathers competency in such a job, given the state of underground mice these days, he exits to a roar of applause, replaced with an even fresher face, named Grainne Maguire.
Gawky and nervous as she is, her comic style takes some getting used to. There is a fine line between comic awkwardness and a nervous disposition. Nonetheless, a fair few laughs bestowed to us from this 2009 Mercury New Act Of The Year finalist, especially in her take on our relationship with the new Conservatives, drawing links between the British public and a battered wife. "They've changed! They recycle now!". Finishing with a terribly awkward but lovable 'reclaiming of the belly' rap, which only serves to reinforce her naive charm, she scurries off stage indulging us in a quick break to sate our thirst for booze.
The next portion of the event is reserved for the well established comics which took the headlines of this particular event. Doc Brown takes to the stage, armed with a folder and an amazing penchant for comic rapping. His swagger and charm are a winning combination, and rapping about anything from his love of David Attenborough, to the correct pronunciation of urban 'gang speak' and its middle class translation, a quick scan of the audience will see most people bent double in silent fits, or choking on their chips. As usual, this particular set is not long enough. We move on to the mysterious 'top secret telly guest'.
Award winning writer and actor Stephen Merchant is not one best known for his standup. A change he is prepared to make, as he introduces himself thus, stating his interest in having something "he can't get his hands on". No need to ask to whom he refers! unleashing his wealth of observations on the responsibilities men have in the dating stakes, height and levels of 'geek', he is every bit as brilliant as you can imagine. Here is a wealth of talent which we hope he will continue to utilise to great effect. His personality, passion and delivery smack of his unique writing style, a winning combination it seems.
We end on an absolute high, as Robin Ince spews bile on all and sundry, covering a ten mile radius in enraged ramblings. Prophecising the failure of his set due to his 'good mood', he is soon berating all those who own up to "guilty pleasures", calling for these pleasures to be far more guilty, crossing the lines into downright illegal. Just how far into guilt is a bit too rich to put into print! After too short a time, the end is nigh, and we are spilling out on to the streets once more, a gaggle of half remembered jokes, too rare to be repeated, and too blue to be aired on television! With the wealth of amazing upcoming and well-known comics treading the boards within the realms Knock2Bag enterprises, it is a perfect gem of brilliance which never fails to deliver. A cheap night out at £8 per ticket, the only solution is to go and see it for yourself. You will choke on your chips, so be careful!