Jo Caulfield’s Comedy Collective – Stand Comedy Club Edinburgh – 15 May

It had been a couple of months since I had visited this monthly institution due to outside forces, but along with a multitude of others made my way there on a cold Tuesday night with anticipation.

For those of you who do not know the format of the night is that numerous of the comics on the Scottish circuit are cajoled or persuaded by Jo Caulfield, and I suspect Kevin Anderson, to step out of their comfort zones, ie doing a set, and undertaking different comedy styles and delivering new material, some that may work some that may not.

As with most of these shows the first two sections are recorded as a podcast and are available for listening via itunes.   These parts consist of a ‘game show’, entitled The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with different guest comics providing the funny stuff under the direction of a host, so following a brief warm up from MC of the night Richard Melvin, where he explained the concept, warmed people up with some excellent material and set the wheels in motion for our Gameshow host Jo Caufield to preside over Team One, Keir McAlister and his wife Jay Lafferty, versus Graeme Thomas and …. Jim Park as Team Two. These teams played a variety of head to head laugh-offs including an homage to TV’s Mr & Mrs quiz game, all to a chorus of laughter at the shenanigans. The winner on the somewhat dubious points scoring by our host was …. Well it didn’t matter, I guess the real winners were the audience.

There was another oldie game show that made an appearance when Jo was joined by Bruce Devlin and two press ganged punters for a game of Blankety-Blank. The star guests with the task of matching with these ’fortunate’  people where impro stars Stu Murphy and Garry Dobson and Richard Melvin. This was well received I think by all, and again as in keeping with the ethos of the night being something different yet funny.

But was this the night over? Hell no!! Melvin returned to his MC role warming up for the final section prior to the final two acts, the first of which was Ben Verth. I haven’t seen so much of this young comic but he has a reputation of being an up and coming name. Whether it was his character, or really him, Verth expounded on a passion for Dr Who for the duration of his set. Some of the material was somewhat specialist and perhaps would have been better received by a different audience, but he was confident in his presentation and certainly commanded his space throughout.

Closing out the evening was young but definitely going places Gareth Waugh giving another dimension to his comedy character creation of the lecturer teaching us how to pick up women. This time our ‘super-stud’ majored on political women and for a guy of such tender years has the historical aspect sussed. And the material, written by him on the night as I later found out, had the audience laughing away good style. I think this guy has the potential to be a major player in Scottish, if not World comedy in the near future. Keep up the good work.

And that was that. The show is as always a mixed bag, some stuff worked better than others, but the vast majority I’m pleased to say worked well. I feel it is a good learning process for all the comics to undergo and judging by the packed out line-up and the virtual full house I am not alone in this opinion, especially as it is so reasonably priced too.

The Comedy Collective reassembles next month, for details of this and all the other shows that are available at the Stand check out their website www.thestand.co.uk for details.

Reviewed by Geoff

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