After a break of a couple of weeks it was time I decided to tackle the mid-February blues and where better to do so than at the countries premier comedy club, The Stand Edinburgh. So in company with many others I took my place early to take advantage of the home cooked food on offer and also make use of the well stocked bar prior to proceedings starting.
Our compere for the night was Jo Caulfield. Now I have seen this excellent comedian perform her Edinburgh Fringe extravaganzas for years and a number of times out with August doing her sets. I have seen her on TV and listened on radio, but this was the first time I had seen her as the host. As always Jo was right on the money from the off with the different skills required for this role, making the whole thing look totally easy, something it certainly isn’t. The job obviously entails warming up the crowd, eliciting information and identifying targets for further rapport, and loosening up the chuckle muscles for the evening ahead. This is of course food and drink to a performer of her calibre and of course as well as this she mixed in some finely crafted material as well.
The opening act of the night, Danny Lobell, was all the way from New York City, where he is a high profile performer and a doyen of comedy radio podcasts, however for me and I suspect most, it was our first experience of this larger than life funny man. Lobell has a Scottish / Jewish heritage and has a whole raft of well written and observed material on different than the run of the subjects. He had an entire chunk on Holocaust Museums coming up with really funny, if occasionally out there lines, also bears, dogs and busses came in for his treatment.
Following the first interval and another dose of the best Ms Caulfield could offer young Glaswegian Ray Bradshaw was the man in possession of the short slot. A new name to me, but he was brimming with confidence and had stage presence a plenty. He also had loads of funny material as well, getting the crowd on side from the off with plenty of belly laughs to boot. I would be very surprised if he is not destined for bigger and better things in the near future. Other young Scots who I have thought this about on the first viewing include Kevin Bridges and Daniel Sloss, and they are certainly doing more than alright. So take my advice look out for Bradshaw, I know I certainly will.
Closing out part two was Edinburgh born ‘yummy mummy’ Wendy Wason. Now I have seen her perform a few times in the past and have been impressed, but on this she has moved up to another level.
Brimming with confidence and quality material to spare, her 20 minutes were filled to bursting point with stuff on her parents, her kids, upbringing, marathon running and reality stars to mention just a few topics. Wendy does get side tracked at times wandering away from her train of thought, but always brings it back to deliver. A real quality performance from a talented performer.
The final part commenced qwith the habitual prize draw before our headliner Simon Munnery took to the stage to finish off. Now I know Munnery is a hugely popular figure in the comedy world and a Stand favourite, but I have previously found his style to be not to my particular taste. That is until this set. For me he stormed it.
Munnery is erudite, Munnery is occasionally surreal, but he is always well prepared and delivers a quality set. Maybe I’m ‘getting’ him now; maybe this set was more mainstream, I don’t know. I do know that he delivered on all levels. His die hard fans were as happy as those less tuned in to the man. A wide range of topic, and styles for that matter, a couple of musical interludes and a million laughs and it was all over. Surely not! But yes the time had gone and it was only left for Jo to finalise things.
So yet another quality night at the Stand, a comedy club that operated nearly every day of the year both in Glasgow and Edinburgh. To see what’s on offer check out their website www.thestand.co.uk
Reviewed by Geoff