Edinburgh Comedy Collective – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly -16 October

It had been quite a while since I had been to Edinburgh’s Stand Comedy Club and even longer since I had seen the Comedy Collective perform there so on the cold almost winter’s evening I put both to right’s by joining a healthy audience to witness the spectacle.
Now for those unaware of the format these evenings take then I’ll explain. Jo Caulfield is a constant presence and the first two sections are a series of ‘panel’ games which are recorded as a podcast, available free to download on iTunes, which sets established comics in competition with each other and generally taking them out of their comfort zone and causing many a laugh for all along the way, with the third section a collection of comics, some new some established trying out various different ideas, characters etc, I’m sure you get the idea. The whole evening is ably held together by Improv superstar Stu Murphy this time in his role as compere.
The players in the panel show were Jo Caulfield and Garry Dobson as team 1 against young Glaswegian Ray Bradshaw and stalwart Graeme Thomas as their opposition. So either individually, or in teams these funny foursome were strutting their stuff for the points arbitrarily awarded by mein host Murphy.
As you could expect crazy capers and mayhem ensued, I wonder how the visiting party of Swiss students referenced some of the stuff, but they like us had a really good time in sessions packed with laughs, giggles and the occasional groan dependant on the gag.
So after the two sections of the recorded podcast and a final interval it was the turn of the others to do a few minutes of different stuff. Murphy was still in charge as compere and his character switch was worth the admission money in itself. ‘Arthur Dingleberry’ was our first character comic, maybe resembling a certain Jim Park somewhat, and his eccentric style seemed to divide the room. A lot of belly laughs from some, but a lot of this inventive guy’s material was lost on our Swiss visitors.
Ben Verth was next to give us a character piece as he dons the guise of a ‘famous’ author reading extracts of his successful books. Verth has plenty of stage presence and his own inimitably slightly wacky style of comedy, but he, as always, made a good impression on one and all.
Hannah Campbell was the next comic to grace the stage and was a new name for me. This Glaswegian lady was brimming with self-confidence and established herself from the off. The material in her all too short set was well received and she is certainly someone I’d like to see again this time with a longer set.
And still they came, Bob Graham being the next one to entertain. Fresh from a recent Edinburgh Fringe run Graham another one brimming with confidence and with a certainly noticeable look more than did himself justice in his allotted time.
Closing out the night was Spanish Singer ‘Jelly Bean Martinez.’ I think it is fair to say that he made an immediate impression on the crowd and elicited howls of laughter with the characterisation that he delivered. I think his selection of a couple of our visitors to abet him in a dance number was well received by their peers, but I don’t think anyone could possibly be unimpressed with what was delivered. I would really like to see more of this act, and I’m sure I will. I don’t see anything but a bright future for our Iberian star.
So that was that, only 3 hours after the start. One certainly gets value for money here that’s for sure. To check out the next time The Comedy Collective are present and all of the other shows on offer at The Stand then www.thestand.co.uk is the place to be.
Reviewed by Geoff

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

The Good, The Bad and The Downright Ugly – Edinburgh Comedy Collective – 18 January –The Podcast

You may remember back in November I visited The Comedy Collective at The Stand Edinburgh and was privileged to see an advanced snippet of  The Good, The Bad and The Downright Ugly, a comedy panel show created for a podcast,presented by Richard Melvin and assorted comedy guests. Initially prior to the recording MC Caulfield did the warm up and explained the ideas behind the concept.

The concept is to take the comics out of their comfort zone and to take them away from their well crafted and honed set material.

The comics going through the wringer on the opening recording were the legendry Jo Caulfield, the inimitable Keir McAlister and the outstanding Graeme Thomas.

Melvin set the ball rolling by ‘getting to know’ the panellists and in doing so causing much hilarity along the way, prior to the ‘serious’ part of the proceedings as two of these comic masters went head to head attempting to get the most laughs and ‘points’, somewhat similar to ‘Argumental’  TV channel Dave. Challenges on The Good, then The Bad, news stories, and other assorted topics took us to the interval and beyond with a variety of ‘debates’ and led to a final round similar in many ways to the ‘Mock the Week’  finale.

Okay it was maybe not as slick as a fully prepared show, but in my opinion anyway, that was a pleasant change. To see these guys flying by the seat of their pants and the genuine enthusiasm they displayed throughout certainly made it the value for money experience that it was. I mentioned in my November review that this show had cult potential, well, I didn’t know I was going to get sucked in. I am supposed to be doing something else for the next recording, but plans are already afoot to reschedule this so I can attend the next performance.

So at the end of the second section that was the recording finished, but was that the end of thing? Not on your life!! Character comedy took over as Jay Lafferty ‘read extracts’ of Victoria’s Diary in the run up to a wedding. I have always rated Jay as a stand-up and her development into a classy character comedian as well makes me even more certain of her talent. It was a well written and presented piece with a lovely twist I hadn’t seen coming and was an added bonus to what had gone before.

And there was more!! Joe Heenan, a stand-up and compere extraordinaire, but Joe the character comedian?? Well he was and an excellent one too!! Fred Nostradamus as a semi-stuntman kept the laughter pot bubbling along well for the duration of his set, a set that was all too short for my liking.

And then there was Lach. How to describe him? Is he a comic? He says no. Is he a raconteur? Well he talks well! Is he a singer and musician? Well certainly if the short burst we saw was anything to go by. This multitalented New Yorker held the crowd rapt for the closing set as he showcased all his talents.

And that was unfortunately all. Until the next time that is. But that is only next week!! Fortunately!!

For the dates and performers of the remaining 5 podcasts check out the website www.edinburghcomedycollective.com or the Stand’s website www.thestand.co.uk and hopefully I’ll see you there.

Reviewed by Geoff

Jo Caulfield: – Cruel To Be Kind

*****

5 Stars

I have a lot of respect for Jo Caulfield as a performer whether the performance medium is TV, Radio, or for me where she really excels live on stage doing stand-up and have had the good fortune to see her a number of times.

As usual playing to busy houses in Stand III, Jo hits the stage running immediately interacting with the audience, asking questions to get her reference points, and then off we go, buckle in for the ride.

Ms Caulfield has a variety of material in her locker on wide and diverse subjects, some she involves the audience with, others she relates, but as always with her show, it is well observed, excellently written and impeccably delivered. The crowd were with her from the off, and remained with her throughout the hour, a lot too short for most I feel.

Annoying friends, perfumes, and her very own Fairy Tale were just three of the subjects I felt were highlights, but in reality there were no lows

Finishing in a similar way to the start an audience poll was taken in order to assist in an article she is writing and then it’s all over for another night.

I feel this is probably the best show I have ever seen her deliver and thoroughly recommend that check it out for yourselves.

*****

Reviewed by Geoff

Stand III V12

5 to 29 August

19-50 to 20-50

Fringe Programme P 78

Jo Caulfield: Won’t Shut Up!

* * * *
4 stars

There seem to be a lot of issues in the press recently casting aspersions on the number of female comedians around and even doubting their abilities. We here at one4review do not think that gender matters, if someone is funny, then they are funny. Full Stop. We also think that the sexes are both well represented with comedy talent and such an example of which was the show I witnessed last night.

Jo Caulfield is a performer that is equally at home on television, radio or in the live gig format and she always has excellent material in abundance. This certainly was the case with the 2009 Fringe show ‘Won’t Shut Up’. Ms Caulfield told us from the start that she had an hour 20’s worth of material to pack into an hour slot, and boy did she try to get it all in, even over running she still had plenty of stuff to spare.

The packed preview house, Ms Caulfield is no prima donna, happy to have reviewers in from day one, were royally entertained on a variety of subjects covering currently topical subjects such as Edinburgh trams, recession and her plan to aid the recovery, a section on possible Dragon’s Den style inventions and their viability, the battle of the sexes and a daily updated section of new jokes that will be written daily for insertion into the show.  How she will mange to cram even more in I have no idea.

The overall impression I took away from the show was Class with a capital C. Jo has stage presence, a wicked sense of humour and enough material for two shows. So take my advice, check her out before the tickets are all gone and witness a really funny comedian, and it doesn’t matter a jot what sex, she has talent.

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