AmusedMoose LaughOff 2012 :: North of England

Do come along and vote for for some of the stars of tomorrow as they battle it out in one of the country’s most prestigious comedy competitions, coming to Harrogate for the first time (previously held in Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester).  Past finalists include Jimmy Carr, Rhod Gilbert, Sarah Millican, Andi Osho and many many more!

Sitting Room Comedy at the Rehab Bar,18-20 Parliament Street, Harrogate HG1 2QZ

4pm   North of England heats of AmusedMoose LaughOff (supported by 2entertain), hosted by Tom Taylor  (Free)

A great bunch of excited newly discovered comedians who have won through from the 60+ entrants, will have their first taste of public acclaim this afternoon, so come in to talentspot the next Sarah Millican and vote for your favourites.

8pm   North of  England Quarterfinal of AmusedMoose LaughOff  (supported by 2entertain), hosted by Carly Smallman    £6

The quarter final will see North of England’s six best upcoming stand-ups perform to become the North of England winner, which ensures a place in the UK  & Ireland semi-finals of AmusedMoose Laugh Off (supported by 2entertain) at AmusedMooseSoho in London, prior to prestigious Final which is a feature of the Edinburgh Fringe, with the Trophies presented by the Chief Executive of the Fringe and MD of 2entertain, the UK’s leading dvd publishers.

Delightfully holding the evening together will be Sitting Room favourite, Carly Smallman.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Live Podcast – 21 February

Over the last six weeks The Edinburgh Comedy Collective has been entertaining theEdinburghpublic live, and the world in general via their podcast on itunes, with a ‘different’ comedy evening.

Comedy Collective mainstay Jo Caufield was as always in command of the night and as usual warms up the enthusiastic audience, limbers up the chuckle muscles and sets the scene for the entertainment on offer for the evening, majoring on the live recording.

The host of the game show was as always Richard Melvin and the two teams on the night were Jo Caulfield herself, ably supported by Glaswegian funny lady Janey Godley versus Joe Heenan and his colleague author Professor Richard Wiseman. Hmmmm, two Richards, two Jo(e)s could lead to complications me thinks.

But no, as all accomplished pros, nothing fazed these guys, head to head games, unusual topics to expound, as three basic rounds, the eponymous The Good, The Bad and then The Ugly, questions from various listener suggestions garnered from all the media sources.

Over the weeks there has been a variety of guests, each adding to the experience and the evening had gathered a regular hard core of followers, I have seen three of the recordings myself, such is the appeal, but unfortunately this was the last of the scheduled recordings. Hopefully they will return in the not too distant future.

The recording took place live, and in two parts, each around half an hour in duration, but once this was completed, it didn’t mean the evening was finished. No way.

The ‘normal’ Comedy Collective style was the mainstay of part three, established stand-ups doing either new experimental material or doing other styles of performance such as sketch or character comedy.

Part three started with a little preamble by Ms Caulfield explaining to those unaware of the situation the format, prior to Gus Lymburn introducing us to his comedy creation Eric Hammond. Now I know this was new stuff, but I felt the material on offer was not quite up to his normal standard, but it did register quite a fulsome amount of laughter at times. I’m sure with some fine tuning this character has a lot of mileage in it.

Swiftly following on where two for the price of one which Jojo Sutherland and Keara Murphy taking centre stage and delivering a couple of sketches, The first entitled ‘Women in Comedy’ as two stand-ups meeting backstage. I’m sure there is not the bitchiness in reality that they exhibited, but it sure was entertaining, and sketch two, ‘LK Today’ giving Ms Murphy a medium for her to showcase her talents as a mimic. Close your eyes and Lorraine Kelly was in the room with us.

And still more value for money entertainment followed, with a lecture by the babe magnet that is Gareth Waugh giving the benefits of his experience in picking up women at the zoo.!!  His set was well thought out and delivered as always. I am more impressed with this young performer each time I see him and look forward to seeing him maintain this undoubted development.

Closing out the night was the legendry Jim Park, who for me is a Marmite comedian in that you either love him or loath him. It was in partnership with the Impro master Garry Dobson, for once working with out his normal sparring partner Stu Murphy.

Jim told a series of new jokes, while Garry ‘interpreted’ them for the deaf. The material, much of which was funny on it’s own, was greatly enhanced with the addition of Mr Dobson.

Like all things it finally had to come. It was the end of proceedings for another evening…. unfortunately.

To see what the future holds for this and other comedy nights check out the websites www.thestand.co.uk or www.edinburghcomedycollective.com

Reviewed by Geoff

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Edinburgh Comedy Collective – 8 February –The Podcast – Episode 4

So I was right then. I predicted back at the pilot stage that this show had the potential to become a cult and judging by the building audience numbers each week, obviously this is coming to fruition.

Circumstances outwith my control dictated that I missed a couple of recordings, therefore missed the live performances of Ian Rankin and Richard Wiseman. But if you missed them like me, fear not, they are available to listen to on line.

So bright and early on Wednesday 8, together with many others I took my place in the Stand Comedy in preparation of recording number 4.

As usual M.C. Jo Caulfield took to the stage to warm-up the audience and explain to the very few who had not attended before what the premise of the evening was about. Once she had got them bubbling nicely the Game Show host Richard Melvin took to the stage and it was game on.

Comedy Collective captain of team A was Jo herself, joined on the night by Forth One Deejay, panto villain and the Face of Lothian Busses Grant Stott as her special guest, while Graeme Thomas captained Team B and was joined by comedian Teddy, a face that I had not seen for a while.

As per norm the games pitted the comedy talents of both captains and guests against each other, forcing them away from their well rehearsed and honed set material, but giving an equally funny yet slightly raw edge to the stuff delivered. I have always been in awe of how they can deliver even their standard set, let alone this more ad hoc material and staking reputations on the line at the same time, yet as always they came through in style. 

Spread over two parts of around 30 minutes per session gave each a chance to shine, all managing most of the time to garner belly laughs from all quarters of the packed out club, and I’m sure all would have been happy for much, much more. But the recording had to finish, but not the night however.

Oh No. After another short break, Jo was back as MC and introduced a few more comics tried out different stuff with mixed results. First to try his material out was Noah Torn. Now this lad was full of confidence and presence, however for my palate his content was waaaay to surreal. However he kept his cool and never dropped the energy throughout the short set.

Glaswegian Keira Murphy was the next comic to try out her new stuff and although some was slightly less successful, by far the majority was more to the club’s taste and as usual she got an enthusiastic reception. Good to see her on form yet again.

Young up and coming funny man Gareth Waugh was slightly late for his appearance, yet with another twist, something that this comedy collective excel at, his set was soon drawing enthusiastic reactions from the crowd.

And yet more was to come with a short sketch based on Edinburgh Tour Guides, and featured the venerable Jim Park and side kick Ben Verth. I’m not too sure who was having the most fun, these two or the audience, something that is developing to quite a theme with these shows, and that in itself is worth the admission money alone.

There are only two more chances to catch the live recording of the podcast, and the stellar line up for each is found on their website www.edinburghcomedycollective.com and while you are doing that The Stand’s website www.thstand.co.uk is the place to find all the shows they have on offer.

Reviewed by Geoff

RECORD BREAKING ‘AMUSED MOOSE LAUGH OFF’

‘AMUSED MOOSE LAUGH OFF’ STARTS THE HUNT FOR 2012’S MOST AMOOSING NEW COMIC

in association with 2ENTERTAIN

A record-breaking 700 entries have so far been made for the prestigious, nationwide Amused Moose Laugh Off contest, which searches out and discovers the next big comedy stars.
 
Entries opened on 1st January, but due to 50% more interest than expected extra qualifying rounds have been added including one this coming Sunday in Camden, to accommodate the waiting list that formed for the qualifying rounds in London as well as the North of England and Scotland.  There are now just a handful of spaces available in London this Sunday, and in the Ireland rounds in April.
 
The reason for this explosion in entries may be a result of the employment/economic situation, boosted perhaps by the continuing belief that ‘comedy is the new rock and roll’.  However many entrants see it initially as a very enjoyable hobby that is a distraction from the realities of life, not least because of the strong bonds that develop within the friendly and supportive comedy community.
 
Hils Jago, founder of Amused Moose Comedy and these awards, says “We have been almost overwhelmed by the huge increase in interest this year, and although the qualifying rounds have only just started we’ve already spotted some exciting new talent who we may well be showcasing at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, and London’s Soho Theatre and Leicester Square Theatre the following month.  Amused Moose Laugh Off has gone from strength to strength since Jimmy Carr was in the final in 1999, so it’s clearly a top way to showcase your talents to the comedy industry while taking your first steps towards getting an agent and your own DVD deal, plus having a shot at the main prize of £1500 to invest in the development of your comedy career.”
 
In association with leading UK DVD company 2entertain, this exciting countrywide talent search for comedy’s brand new comic gems is famed for discovering the comedy stars of the future. Previous Amused Moose Laugh Off winners include Jack Whitehall and Sarah Millican.
 
The audience votes at every stage, whilst the overall winner is ultimately decided by the movers and shakers of the comedy industry. The Amused Moose Laugh Off 2012 final, featuring an international comedy industry panel and a celebrity host, will be held at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2012.  It continues to be a fantastic shop window for new talent.
 
For the entry form and more information go to www.AmusedMoose.com/LaughOff to grab one of the remaining places, and then just turn up at qualifying rounds eager to perform a few minutes of your funniest gags, hopefully on your way to fame and fortune.

Wicked Wenches – Stand Comedy Club Edinburgh – 7 February

As it was the first Tuesday of the month yesterday where else would you expect to find me other than at The Stand Comedy Club Edinburgh for their monthly ‘All ladies line-up’ of quality comedy.

Somewhat unusually for this show it wasn’t Susan Calman in charge, no The Calminator was unavailable, it was very pleasing to see yet another of the vast array of quality comperes, Jojo Sutherland was at the helm. It has bee n quite a while since I have seen her on stage, but as expected she was on top of things from the onset. As per the norm, Jojo managed to get the crowd warmed up, identify potential targets for others, and make everybody laugh into the process. Job done. As always.

The opening act was new to me,Glasgow based Julia Sutherland, no relation to the host.

Julia exuded confidence and stage presence from the start, yet was never cocky or overbearing. Her set was largely autobiographical and she had some killer lines in her well crafted and enjoyable set. Her life, her family, her toddler featured quite heavily, but this was always enjoyable and generated plenty of laughter throughout her set. Certainly I would like to see more based on the performance given on the night.

After the interval and a bit more of Jojo classy material, the short spot was delivered by Becky Price, yet another first timer on my comedy radar.

Tall and slender with long hair I had her down as a studenty type at first, but my goodness there is a whole different side to this linguistic lady. Looking like she wouldn’t say boo to a goose, she comes out with a set that would possibly make a docker blush, yet delivered with such panache as to have the club in stitches. The longer her set went on the more I wanted to hear, and I will look forward to hearing her again, hopefully in the near future.

One of the reasons I was especially looking forward to this gig was the fact that Jessica Fostekew, a sparkling talent I first saw doing her one woman show Luxury Tramp during Fringe 2011, was on the bill. I really enjoyed her show then and certainly was not disappointed with her set on this occasion. Bits of the 2011 show were there, but then quality material deserves to be heard by everyone, but there was a whole raft of different stuff, equally funny as well. Mix this together with her obvious acting abilities and the accents she can produce and her undoubted personality and presence made her stage-time just evaporate. I understand she will be returning toEdinburghfor Fringe 2012 so will book my ticket now.

After Jojo opened the final section with the prize draw and got he show back up and running headliner Tiffany Stevenson took the club by storm. I have been a fan of this bubbly blonde Londoner for a few years now and really though she deserved to win ‘Show me the Funny’ aired on ITV last summer. But even if she didn’t it must have raised her profile somewhat.

Ms Stevenson’s a greatly likeable stand up, and a very watchable comedian. Her material, clever and well-constructed, really does shine through and her excellent performing skills are the icing on the cake. She delivered a packed set of funny material, much of which was completely new to me. Again she is not afraid to be slightly dark at times, yet has that mischievous grin and sparkling eyes that can disarm any situation.  I am sure that she did a lot to enhance her already glowing reputation and roll on August when hopefully she will also be appearing at Fringe 2012.

All too soon the night was over, and I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a Wicked Wenches more. Roll on next month.

The Stand Comedy Club offers a wide variety of top class comedy virtually every night of the week at their clubs in Edinburgh, Glasgowand now Newcastleas well. Check out their website at www.thestand.co.uk  and maybe I’ll see you there.

Reviewed by Geoff