Go On, Make Me Laugh
I've never been one for paying for comedy. Why should I when Britain is the home of so many great sit-coms? Through the decades we've had Fawlty Towers, The Young Ones, Men Behaving Badly. Not to mention my favourites from across the pond, Friends and Frasier.
I didn't take much persuading, however, when my friend Melody invited me at very short notice to the Comedy Store in the West End. For one, I had nothing better to do and she was buying the ticket...
I got the train up to London and met Melody at Victoria and we got the tube to Picadilly. The basement venue was fairly well packed out. Strangely, though, the front row of seats were unoccupied, so that's where we sat. Melody, who is forever on a diet, placed various snack items on the floor in front of her.The seats were fairly small so I had deliberately left an empty seat next to me. Eventually one of the Comedy Store staff got us to move along so that there a couple of empty seats together.
Michael McIntyre (the compere of the show) came out and started his routine. Talking about his family asking member of the audience their names and what they do. One girl called Sienna or something like that came in for some stick. Then it was my turn. Michael picked up the apple and individually wrapped cheese that was in front of me, held them up to the audience and started to question me about it. I explained that it wasn't mine and that deflected the attention onto Melody. Personally, I wouldn't want some (celebrity) stranger handling my "lunch", so I asked him "Have you washed your hands?". He managed to come up with some suitably witty reply.
The other comedians (all up-and-coming "talent") weren't all as good as Michael. The comediennes weren't particularly good. Sorry, girls, wearing a crap cardigan and talking in a regional accent does not make you funny in itself. A bald guy (my age and with slighlty less hair than me) came on saying how the staff at one venue had compared him to a thumb. I couldn't resist holding up my thumb and asking him to turn round.
Later on in the evening Michael was talking and Melody got up to use to the loo. By this time the happy-hour drinks I'd drunk were now needing to be released, so I got up too and headed for the toilet. I deliberately went a different way to Melody, the route being longer but easier. Another comedian came on, followed by Michael to introduce the next one. Melody still wasn't back and there was an empty seat next to me. Michael asked me Melody's name and got the whole audience to chant her name until she came back.
So, my faith in live comedy has been restored. My last bad experiences of big name comedians was that smug bastard Ricky Gervaise. I still think they shouldn't charge as much as it costs to see a decent band, but I promise not to sit in the front row with my arms folded and a look that says "Go on you fucker, make me laugh"