Secret Gig Is Good News For Lucky Students

Russell Howard makes surprise appearance at a packed Bar 100 Comedy Night

A packed Bar 100 was treated to a surprise Russell Howard gig last night, with many unlucky students turned away after the venue reached capacity.

Howard, billed as a mystery guest at the Union’s fortnightly ‘Stand-up Bristol’ night, performed first. Whilst some of his new material was unashamedly hit and miss, the surreal sight of a TV celebrity on the make-shift Bar 100 stage made getting down early for a good seat worth it.

Not quite as roomy as the O2…
Photo: Richard Brown

Howard, who is more used to packed arenas than crowded bars, described it as ‘one of the weirdest gigs of my life’, with his mother’s house just down the road.

His appearance was kept secret but inevitably word started to make its way round student circles in the hours before the show. The bar reached capacity just before 8pm, when the show began, with many late-comers left disappointed.

However, the few hundred lucky enough to be inside were treated to one of the most unforgettable nights Bar 100 has seen.

Following his set, Russell was presented with a classic Bar 100 teapot, though he was seemingly unaware it contained a concoction of 5 spirits and mixer, and not, as is traditionally found in a teapot, tea.

The task of following one of the most famous comedians in the country, the presenter of his own TV show and the small but noticeable exodus of Howardites was given to ‘Cleopatra’.

As if the night wasn’t mad enough, Mat Ewins burst out of the Bar 100 office dressed as the ancient Egyptian queen, before delivering a short but bizarre set. The jokes were far from side-splitting, but by leaving the stage just before the novelty began to wear off, the tempo of the night was kept high.

To round off one of the most memorable nights the Union has ever hosted, headline act Joel Dommett took to the stage.

Dommett: fired from MTV for being too old
Photo: Jamie Corbin

Despire being a former MTV presenter and the star of BBC3’s Impractical Jokers, Dommett obviously doesn’t have the high-profile of the evening’s opening act. However, had Russell Howard been a relatively unknown comedian, Dommett would certainly have been the highlight of the night.

A hilariously self-deprecating look at his teenage musical career, coupled with stories from his MTV days, formed a set well worthy of the headline slot. Any fears about how he would follow Russell Howard and an Egyptian drag-queen were quickly dispelled.

As usual, the night was compered by Bristolian stand-up comedian Mark Olver, who promised next fortnight’s show, the last in Bar 100 before it closes, will be spectacular.

Olver was even generous enough to offer a free drink to anyone who performs two minutes of material at the next show, suggesting there’s been no better time to get out the old joke book!