Review: Clare Comedy

ROB BROWN thinks the Asians show the rest of us how it’s done at Clare Comedy.

cheng Clare Comedy Wang

Clare Comedy, 28th February

I didn’t even know Clare Comedy existed before a friend of mine told me he’d be performing (that’s right I only review things my friends are in; I’m fucking lazy alright) and that’s probably the attitude of the majority of you people. Well that’s a shame because, last night at least, it was very good. Even if I did overhear one of the acts in the toilets come out with possibly the best recommendation I’ve ever heard from someone actually in said show, he described the evening as “a good, cheap night this; apparently we get Gardies after as well”. Only in fucking Cambridge.

Following the usual formula of student comics followed by a professional headliner, Clare departed only slightly from the norm by having two intervals, which in my opinion slightly disrupted the flow. But it was a long show and that’s some really poor criticism right there. The rest of the show was very good, as I can tell from the bunch of screwed-up post-it notes I used as notes; I’m getting good at this. I particularly enjoyed the plentiful jokes pushing the envelope between being funny and totally insulting. So on that theme we’ll move on to my favourite Asians.

First up Phil Wang, it’s been said before it’ll be said again – by proper reviewers in ten years time – Phil Wang is great. So great that people laugh at his mere name. In addition to his superb ukulele performance, he did an excellent bit about how TCS is a fucking rag (his description may have been slightly wittier). A lot of student comics struggle to get one laugh per routine, the first time they perform it. Wang gets great barrels of spunk-filled laughs (sorry it was a juvenile night) every time he performs; even though the Cambridge comedy scene is so motherfucking insular every other audience member could do his routine. Speaking of rip-offs, enter Ken Cheng. Also Asian, also following the one syllable per name rule, also pant-wettingly funny. His routine on the unsexy nature of being a professional poker player was excellent, with some superb misdirection leading to some very funny punch lines. If Cambridge keeps unearthing the likes of these two, humour might actually replace mathematical ability as the go-to Asian stereotype.

While those two were the highlights of the student comics, there were also some very funny if much more patchy acts preceding them. I particularly liked Jamie Mathieson’s routine, which was clever and intelligently paced. There was also some enjoyable ukulele work from Leo Davidson. The headliner was Steve Hall, who was apparently in a BBC3 sketch show called “We are Klang”; which he himself described as shit, probably quite accurately. However, as a stand-up he was pretty funny, with some particularly good stuff on his father, and he managed to fill the last hour pretty well.

It wasn’t all good, however, some of the acts sadly resorted to the usual comedy stereotypes used to fill space in which the best acts will elaborate on a theme or wow you with some particularly brilliant observation. My pet hate is mocking where you’re from, please find something better guys, it’s lazy and you can only ride a good accent so far. Moreover, the use of random jumping between subjects to get a laugh always grates with me; I like my stand-up to be a bit smoother than that. There was also some kind of banshee pig being right-royally skull-fucked behind me (fat girl laughing) which for some reason somewhat spoiled the show for me. I’m looking for things to nit-pick though; for a show filled with comedy first-timers, it was excellent. There’ll be one next term, so I recommend you break up the monotonous horror of exam term with some comedy; unless you’re a finalist, in which case you’ll be too busy looking like death warmed up and crying. Oh well, that’s pretty much my entire life.