SCA Corpus Smoker
ZOE DAVIGNON is generally delighted by exam term humour and Tab bashing at the SCA Smoker.
Corpus Playroom, 9.30pm, Monday 6th May, £6/5
Monday’s charity Smoker was definitely a fantastic excuse to have a break from the monotony of exam term, support a charitable cause, and be in bed before 11 chortling myself to sleep. Some of Cambridge’s best known stand-up comics took to the intimate Corpus Playroom stage to embrace an hour and a half of well-executed procrastination.
As one would expect, there was a solid base of observational exam-term comedy, particularly from Jamie Fraser and Jon Bailey. Jon Bailey provided Cambridge’s answer to Danny Boyle with a start-to-finish tour of the dark, the grim and the bodily function. He managed to get people laughing and recoiling simultaneously – so congratulations, Mr Bailey.
My personal favourite of the evening was Jamie Fraser who, on bended knee, told a story about finding an intrepid reviser asleep in the library (with bedding) over exam term. Jamie gave a sensitive account of reminding this lost sheep that there was NO NEED to go to such extreme lengths in order to be at one with their revision! His delivery style was relaxed, well-timed and generally hilarious.
Ian Samson played the self-deprecating act-come-compère, nominating a member of the audience to begin the clapping for each act. Although I normally find being told what to do not in the least bit amusing, the structural clapping actually eased the proceedings and avoided the sporadic Mexican wave style audience appreciation that sometimes happens.
I was a little bit disappointed with Samson’s (at times not entirely intentional) haphazard delivery, however. Reading from a script stunted what could have been really excellent and, dare I say it, deliciously pretentious meta-comedy.
Zoe Tomalin and Siân Docksey did what they do best: bringing together seemingly alien concepts into a side-splitting abstract rampage of carpets, breasts and feminism, Game of Thrones, and Tab-bashing. I was laughing so loudly at their expletive-filled damnation of The Tab that when Siân asked me if I was from The Tab, I didn’t deny it. Despite the abuse of our beloved source of up-to-date information I really enjoyed their performance. They left the audience feeling dazed and confused, but definitely entertained.
Ben Pope made only a fleeting appearance, much to the audience’s dismay. Apparently the last Tab reviewer to pass comment on Ben offered him her number and I can see why – we were all left wanting more. I felt like the Smoker could have done with more from Ben Pope and James Wilkinson, as both performances felt considerably shorter than the other acts. Get out there and see them if you have the opportunity!
I always feel a slight tension from the audience before watching any performance (the fear of social awkwardness – that shit will get you, or me anyway), especially in the Corpus Playroom – there is absolutely nowhere for the awkwardness of a bad show to diffuse in that venue. I was, however, pleasantly relaxed during the evening as a whole. Congrats, and I might just keep an eye out for the next appearance of Jamie Fraser.