Stand Comedy Club 15 September

It has been all too long since I have been to the Stand Comedy Club Edinburgh for a gig outwith The Fringe, but this was put to rights as I with three friends headed there for a night out and I was quickly reminded why it is the best comedy club in Scotland if not the UK.

Our host for the night is one of the Stand’s regular and popular MCs Joe Heenan. Now by no stretch of the imagination is this the first time I have seen this guy in charge and he is always good, but on this night he was on fire. Heenan has a pleasing personality, a genuinely funny guy who combines the role of warming up the crowd with an innate talent of injecting his own funny material. In this form there are few to compare with him in this role.

Opening act was new to me, a slightly self-deprecating lady by name of Jane Hill. Quietly confident Ms Hill took command of the packed out club and entertained with her well observed stuff for the duration of the set.

Okay maybe some parts of the routine were better received than others, but I don’t think anyone could be disappointed with the opening.

After the first interval and more of Heenan’s expertise Rob Coleman took to the stage and made an immediate impression. His appearance, especially his somewhat wild hair was an attention grabber, but a gentle start morphed into a series of one liners al a Stewart Francis or Milton Jones which drew laughs and groans in equal measures and was certainly well received by the audience. He has presence a plenty and material to match. Certainly well worth checking out.

Revered Scottish comedian Parrot was the closing act in part two, and like those before him, certainly did nothing but raise the bar and enhance his reputation.

His material is slightly darker that what went before, but delivered in such away as to be hilarious. His accent is quite strong, occasionally I wonder if some of his well crafted stuff may be lost on non-Scots, but on the night he went down as storm with all parts of the club. Certainly I don’t think he has been on better form in all the times I have seen him.

Following the second and last interval and prize draw, headliner Jason Cook took to the stage and just took the already great gig to another level. Cook has so much outstanding material I’m sure he could have played for two hours and not got close to exhausting it.

I have been a fan of his for years and he is definitely a favourite of The Stand. His delivery style in relaxed, sometimes even delivered seated, but the stories and delivery are worthy of an ovation. He does tend to get sidetracked from a story midway though occasionally as his comedy brain thinks of other things, but generally gets back to the story. He is so full of hilarious anecdotes that it is necessary for him to speak at such a rate to fit in even a fraction of what he wants to say, so strap in for a hectic ride. Surely his translation to comedy superstar cannot be so very far away, so if you want to see the guy in the intimate club setting then grab your chance over the next couple of nights, ‘cause it could be only stadium gigs before too long.

For details of how to book for any of the gigs held at the Stand Comedy Club either in Glasgowor here in Edinburghcheck out their website www.thestand.co.uk

Reviewed by Geoff

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Jason Byrne – Cirque du Byrne Tour

I really can’t remember exactly when I first saw Jason Byrne perform live, but it must be fourteen years ago having previously see him on the Edinburgh or Bust TV series.

Byrne then was a very young red headed bundle of crazy, wacky energy who just got up there and delivered, something that is still his trademark all those years later.

Byrne has been one of the biggest selling comedians at TheEdinburghFringe ever since and he is just starting on a mammoth tour taking his brand of comedy mayhem to the whole country. This date at the Alhambra Theatre Dunfermline was rocking with laughter from the opening routine until the last nearly two hours 30 later.

In all the years I have seen him perform I actually began he doubt that he had prepared material. His mercurial wit is always to the fore as he riffs as only he can with the audience, but there was material this time and like his free form was quality too.

Byrne is maybe now in his late 30’s but the sense of humour is still as young and vibrant as ever, occasionally almost juvenile at times and there is always plenty of ’divilment’ and craic, not to mention abundant audience participation and the occasional crazy props that make cameo appearances.

Byrne has never been a comedian with deep meaningful messages in his shows, no, there is a simple message every time. Enjoyment. He enjoys himself and I cannot believe that anyone who has seem this man perform can feel otherwise. I found myself checking his schedule to see if he is playing anywhere near me again so I can catch the performance all over again.

For details of the tour check out www.jasonbyrne.ie or for future gigs at Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre www.alhambradunfermline,com

Reviewed by Geoff