Marvel, Mirth and Maud, Walthamstow, London, 11/09/2019.
James Dowdeswell isn’t the worst MC I have ever witnessed but he is in the top two, which is a shame as otherwise this would have been a pretty strong night of comedy. He does admit fairly early on that he’s drinking on antibiotics so perhaps that’s why he had such an off night, but most of his patter was asking people what jobs they do and then not following up on this with anything even barely resembling a joke, while his prepared material about what the kids in Walthamstow are like and the rescue dog he’s recently got just made me wince.
Fortunately the other comedians on the bill tonight were (mostly) a lot lot better, with Glenn Moore performing first, presumably as he was headlining another gig somewhere else in London later that evening. I have to admit that I wasn’t that fond of Moore beforehand based on seeing him on various tv shows but live he’s much much funnier. He has some particularly strong material about the years he spent as a newsreader, with his nightmarish boss Justin making David Brent seem like one of the nicest and most charming men alive and his jokes are delivered in an almost aggressive manner, but it’s a style which works as he rattles through an enormous amount of gags at an impressive rate. His segments on being taught subjects at school which have no relevance to real life may not be that original but he puts a fresh and very funny twist on it, while his word play also made me laugh a lot, and due to this set he’s gone from being a comedian that I had no time for to one who I’d highly recommend, and I definitely plan to catch his latest hour long show soon.
After an interval we unfortunately got another ten minutes of weak material from Dowdeswell which involved a terrible pun about a mixed breed of dog which is still making me wince the following morning. Then Stella Graham was next up, performing a shortish set which was largely amiable and that mostly revolved around her and her mother’s love for reduced to clear items in supermarkets. There wasn’t anything particularly stunningly original here but she has a good few gags about getting food cheap and most of them elicited laughter, while her confident stage presence helps make a weaker segment about the beginning of a relationship and holding in farts bearable, though it’s something she needs to work on a bit more if it’s to end her set with the audience wanting to see more of her. Either way she certainly shows a lot of promise, and is someone I’d like to see again.
I’m not sure if the same applies to Dave Bibby however, who is pretty much the human form of The LadBible website. He begins his set by telling us he’s going to perform a mixture of stand up, songs and sketches, some of which made me laugh a fair bit, but some of which were almost as bad as Dowdeswell’s efforts. The worst offender was a painfully bad song set to the Only Fools And Horses theme tune all about the kind of men you get on Love Island and their obsession with their appearance, which made me wonder if I was witnessing the worst ever stand up set by a professional comedian. But the second part of his set was an enormous improvement, it being a sketch where he pretends to phone up a sex chat line and ignores the first few erotic options, choosing to hear all about a pre-David Moyes era Manchester United instead. It could do without Bibby’s over the top pretend wanking but the dialogue is strong, as is the concept in general and he was beginning to win me around at this point. Then his set ended with a quiz where he got two people on stage and all the answers were “Banter” related, ie “Banter Clause” or “The Archbishop Of Banterbury”, which would have been pretty awful were it not for the two audience members efforts. Ultimately I can see why Bibby will probably do well in the future (if he drops that horrendous song at least) but I’m still not certain if I’d ever want to see him again as this kind of laddish comedy isn’t something I’ve a lot of love for.
The final act of the night is someone that I do, however. After an incredibly underwhelming introduction from Dowdeswell I was in need of a confident, assured performer who knew how to make people laugh for this night to have been worth the money, and Ivo Graham delivered in spades, even despite spending the first ten minutes doing new material about the five a side football league he’s in, while commenting on the unwise nature of doing new material when headlining a gig. Sure, it wasn’t his best material of the night but he riffed in an extremely likeable manner, and his mockery of his decision to do such a thing created a lot of laughs, and when he performed his prepared material he really flies, with a superb selection of gags about his new daughter (with one pun comparing her birth to the state of the labour party making me laugh shockingly hard) and a bit about the breast feeding class he attended prior to her birth both being fantastically funny. It’s a set which only got better and better as it went along, with a segment on how he went to Eton, power point related masturbation and meeting Boris Johnson’s brother being the highlight of the night and a story about a time he lied to his Dentist ends the evening on a very high note indeed, Graham was another comedian I’d not seen before tonight but now I will do so the very first chance I get.