It’s the season to be jolly, the Xmas party season, and for those in the licencing trade, and the comedy trade for that matter the last Friday before Christmas is known as Black Friday. Why? ‘Cause these establishments are overrun with office parties, groups of semi-drunken people at best, al intent in enjoying themselves and to hell with everyone else. Now the management policy of the Stand Comedy Club try to mitigate the problems by refusing to take large party bookings, but it is inevitable that some get through the net. It was apparent that a few had on Friday.
The lady with the unenviable task of compere was the irrepressible, ebullient Susan Morrison. Now Susan is a comedy legend and more than capable of dealing with rowdy behaviour and her style of rapid fire gags, information gathering and warming up the laughter muscles was tested at times as one or two of the punters sought to take her on. Brave, but foolish individuals. Not only did she have the mike, but more than enough in the way of retorts to these attempts. Susan did a grand job as always and introduced the opening act, Alaskan born, New York based comedian Hailey Boyle.
Ms Boyle came with a growing reputation from her home land and I was looking forward to seeing what she had to offer. She tried to deliver her set of well crafted stories to the masses, but maybe because of the make up of the audience, or maybe the humour didn’t cross the Atlantic as she may have hoped, but I feel she struggled a little to make real headway on the night. Hailey certainly has stage presence in abundance and is not afraid to react with her crowd. I’d like to see her again with a ‘real comedy audience’ where I’m sure she would be a sure fire hit.
The act following the first interval was Jim Park. Now I have not always been a fan of this guy in the past, I will be the first to admit, however on a difficult night like this was I saw another side of him. He is still quirky in his material and delivery, but the way he won over the room was inspiring. Certainly members of my gang were well impressed. I had seen some of his material before, but there was more than enough content to entertain one and all and I include myself in this. Well done Mr Park.
Superstar in waiting Daniel Sloss was the closing act of the second section. Now those of you who follow this site will know that we are huge fans of this barely out of his teens comedian from Fife. Numerous TV and radio appearances together with sell-out Edinburgh Fringe shows auger well for his future and I have really seen him progress over the couple of years I have seen him perform. Sloss has enough quality material to do several hours, stage presence, personality and style in abundance added to control and confidence all mark him down for a contender for the very top. And he is a really nice guy as well. Anyway Daniel wowed the difficult crowd as always. He elicited laughs from the four corners of the club and I feel no one could have been left in any doubt that they were in the presence of a real comedy talent.
Following the prize draw, headliner Ryan Stout took to the stage. Another comic from across the pond, LA based Stout resplendent in a suit and tie expounded his material for the closing session.
This was the first time I had seen him so was unaware as to what to expect. Like his countryman Boyle before I felt he struggled at times with the Scottish party night audience, and whether it was his norm, or felt he had to spell it out, almost explained the gags to us occasionally.
He is hard to pigeonhole, at times a little like Jimmy Carr, occasional touches reminded me of Stewart Francis and they have done okay. His set was often self-depricating and the whole performance, although skating around a few delicate subjects was delivered without one single swear word. Amazing.
So that was Black Friday out of the way for one and all. However the Stand does have an awful lot more shows, both in Edinburgh and in Glasgow to come both this year and next. Check out their web site www.thestand.co.uk for all the details and I look forward to seeing you there.
Reviewed by Geoff