Milton Jones at The Wolfson Howler

LOTTIE UNWIN gets her lolz out with the lads.

Abi Palmer Jamie Mathieson Milton Jones Tom Davenport Wolfson Howler

Monday 8th November, 8.00 at Wolfson College Bar. £5.


I piled into a cab with my boyfriend and 5 of his mates. These are the young men behind Tab comments such as, ‘I got deaned for being in possession of two huge guns’ on Deaned!:Cambridge Discipline Uncovered, and the 21 times it has been ‘liked’.  I am sorry to have blown your cover boys.  Sitting under the computer desk at the side of the stage, I didn’t feel the same love for The Wolfson Howler I am normally overcome by.  But it was just me fidgeting awkwardly; the Lads had their cheap Crabbies and were happy.  And that was the not the only time that night I had to concede they were right.

The Lads argued first act Jamie Mathieson didn’t do ironic jokes about being working class nearly well enough for us to forgive the lack of originality.  I had to agree, and not only because  I went to a private school and they didn’t.

The Lads didn’t notice the subtle irony in Jonny Leonard’s choice of Topshop a/w ’10-esque outfit as he told his brilliant tale of children recruited into sweat shops by Philip Green and Pointy, The Magic Needle.   They also didn’t notice that his timing fell apart in the second half of the act, so I felt like the sceptic.

Lads, it turns out, don’t like intervals, though they do appreciate the economic benefits; muttering ‘more money at the bar’, ‘fair enough mate’ to each other.  I had to agree; though the drinks are cheap, the format of The Howler dragged.

The female comedians didn’t go down well, though there were murmurs of respect for Abi Palmer’s balls amongst The Lads when she got up and rapped.  I passionately wanted to disagree and have a dramatic fight with my boyfriend over it so I had something to gossip about in the library, but it was true.  When Abi said herself, ‘there is only so far you can go with a novelty rap act’ it was already too late.  A friend in the lobby assured me Emerald Paston showed ‘talent’.  Perhaps if we’d been sitting in front of the stage they would have appreciated such ‘talent’ more?  There, I got a misogynist rant in anyway.

It should be no surprise that this group, who still find the running Tab comments debate about Tom Davenport’s potentially famous relations funny, fail to find Ed Gamble’s old jokes old.  And I suppose that, yes, though I have heard ‘that Sugababes joke’ before, he is still without doubt the best man for his job.

Finally, of course, headliner Milton Jones was a consummate professional.  He knew exactly how to ride audience response;  when he lamented, ‘I used to be bullied at school’, we all cooed ‘Aww’ for him to pithily reply, ‘It was by pirates, you’re not helping’.  He knew how to keep us engaged, framing his opportunity to test material as a competition with a friend, and certainly knew how to make a joke.  ‘I used to supply filofaxes to the mafia.  I was involved in very organised crime’ was my personal favourite.

With punchlines in every breath, however, I just couldn’t keep up, and felt like the thick kid as I sat cross legged amongst grown men weeping with laughter.  They were getting the jokes in time and I wasn’t, so I have to promise to stop rolling my eyes at their Tab comments and concede £5 for comedy of Milton Jones’ standard is unbelievable.