Christ’s Holy Smoker

Hilarity in the name of charity is not quite enough for ELLIE OGILVIE to laugh through the whole night

Ben Pope Christ's College Christ's Holy Smoker Comedy David Halstead jon bailey Ken Cheng Oliver Marsh Smoker zoe tomalin

Christ’s College Function Room, 7th March, 9pm, £3

[rating: 3/5]

The cosy, relaxed atmosphere of Christ’s Function Room provided the perfect venue for the inaugural Christ’s Holy Smoker and delivered a few hours of hilarity for charity.

The smoker was masterfully led by the quirky and gloriously capable Zoe Tomalin. Compèring the night and performing her own set, Tomalin showed great versatility and responded well to a couple of mishaps during the event. She had the presence of a true comedienne and stole the show with her sarcastic discussions of the trials and tribulations of arranging the occasion and her brilliantly paced jokes based around flip chart annotations. David Halstead’s impressive keyboard accompaniment added to the jovial mood of the proceedings.

Oliver Marsh’s discussion of his college’s alumni rapidly turned into despair for his subject “fucking physics”. Only in Cambridge would the mention of colliding bodies, tension and imaginary numbers get some of the biggest applause of the night. Marcus Martin performed a set based around animals with a hilarious melange of accents; his idea of a goldfish forgetting about her marriage was simple yet cleverly composed and presented with gusto.

Other stand-out performances came from some of the Cambridge comedy regulars. Jon Bailey’s routine employed risqué jokes well. His fellatio service phone call hooked the audience, and a re-enactment of his Grandfather’s last words was nothing short of hilarious. Fresh from another gig, Ben Pope provided a very competent finale with his wallowing account of progress since a break-up. His incredibly accurate observations of women in the gym and the announcement of his Justin Bieber aspirations were also well received.

For me the star act was Ken Cheng, with his usual Chinese banter and hamming-up of previous criticism that his humour was “too manly” having both halves of the audience in fits.

There were sections of the night, however, that managed to raise little more than a smile and several acts dragged on a bit. Additionally, the inclusion of a sketch within the back-to-back stand-up didn’t work. Whilst the idea based around the conception of the Olympics was amusing, it was rather out of context and the audience struggled to adapt to it.

Nevertheless, the event did provide a great platform on which to perform away from the daunting environment of Corpus or the ADC. Judging from the success of the night as a whole, I am sure there will be more where this came from. Certainly worth a look-in.