Review: Comedy Baby

SUZANNE BURLTON: ‘The most important question when grading comedy is whether or not one laughed and I did.’

Ben Target Jay Foreman Kieran Boyd Liam Williams Nish Kumar

Wednesday 9th June to Saturday 12th June, 11pm at the ADC Theatre, £6 – £4

I was initially unamused by repeated requests for my companion and me to move forward for the “atmosphere”, but we obliged and were soon glad that we did.  The most important question when grading comedy is whether or not one laughed and I did. 

Kieran Boyd, the compere, was very good at going with the flow. He dealt well with a microphone malfunction  and his good-natured responses to audience participation certainly made us laugh along with him.  Best of all, there was nothing desperate about his jokes, and it felt like a friend telling you a particularly funny story.

The musical talents of Jay Foreman were exhibited first, with a range of amusing songs about stealing food and bank robberies. His lyrics were beautifully constructed without forced rhymes or awkward phrasing. The songs were long but didn’t get boring, with each verse funnier than the one before. Though not a cohesive act, the muddle was consistently good.

Liam Williams kept fidgeting with the microphone stand. He mumbled inarticulately and it all felt awkward.  The set had run out of steam before the punchline and swamped by the ADC stage, he had no stage presence.

The Mind of Ben Target is a weird and wonderful place – emphasis on wonderful. Fittingly, self-described as “odd”, he created a fabulously tense atmosphere where one didn’t quite know what he would do next.  Though he had no “jokes” per se his deadpan delivery, confident use of pauses and sense of timing made his act the best of the night. For example, he stroked an audience member's hair, who cautiously stroked back to receive a little slap on the wrist and a cheekily outraged face. Perfect.

Nish Kumar was, to be frank, a disappointment. The notional headliner, he had none of the personality of the other comedians. The poor thing had to pick his way through the detritus of Ben’s multifarious props, which is one way to make sure the act which comes on after you won’t follow suit. But there was simply no sparkle, nothing special or interesting. Nish was alright, which in this show is definitely below par. 

Although the lineup changes every night, Kieran and Ben are marvellous and are sure to keep you entertained. They provide a strong backdrop to the slightly variable other acts but this is a solid show and, vitally, funny.