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Review: the best of the Comedy Store, London

Comedy blogger Ben Keenan reports from London’s jam-packed Comedy Store

I had the pleasure of reviewing the best of the comedy store at the famous upside down purple cow that is the Udderbelly festival. It’s London’s wee answer to the Edinburgh festival. Slightly less expensive and not a sheep’s stomach in sight. Ach aye! The air was heavy and humid and the audience were visibly feeling the heat. So who better to rouse them from their balmy stupor for the evening ahead than Alistair Barrie; one of the most sought after acts on the comedy scene not just in England but all over the world. I’m excited! And I wasn’t to be disappointed, Alastair’s quick fire wit and observations started the night perfectly. He got the audience quickly in stitches with his fierce but friendly digs at audience members with privileged sounding names and job titles. The poor bloke who worked as an estate agent and for some mental reason decided to sit in the front row wearing a sleeveless T-shirt felt Alastair’s full wrath much to our delight in the safety of the back row where we guffawed with pleasure!

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Alistair Barrie

So that’s MCing taking care off. First up was the very cool character that is Jamal Maddox – winner of the chortle student awards 2014 and subsequently appeared on Jon Bishop’s show – he espoused a relaxed and natural confidence that defies his tender age of 25. I hate him!! I don’t. Clever jokes about stereotypes and race all done with a charm that makes you feel you’ve know him all your life; like that mate down the road who you can always rely on to make you laugh. Great start.

Then there was a break which was functional, that is all.

Break over it was time for a more seasoned comic to try and tickle us… and tickle he did. Not like that! Ian Stone to be precise. What can I say about Ian Stone? He’s been voted one of the top ten stand-ups in the country, has appeared on various panels shows including Mock The Week. It’s odd because he’s disarmingly charming and easy going then he’ll come out with material that makes you wince and squirm in awkward delight. A great set by an absolute pro; he has a load of dates coming up in London. Go and see him quick!

comedy-store-Ian-Stone

Ian Stone

That’s hard to follow, I bet you’re thinking? Well don’t. Thinking ages you terribly. Fact. Well it had to be something special to close the show and it was nothing short of comedy gold! In the form of a manic and hilarious performance by Canadian mirth master Phil Nichols. Wow, what a performer! Bags of energy, amazing crowd work, at one point he spent a whole minute thrusting his Canadian maple sausage in some poor blokes face whilst singing his praises in an admittedly pseudo-camp/mildly offensive accent, but we knew it wasn’t to poke fun or cause offensive, it was merely part of his on stage persona and it was thrilling to say the least. He then picks up a guitar and starts thrashing out some hilarious metal-rock bangers that could easily go toe to toe with Tenacious D or Steel Panther. Yeah, that good! The crowd at this point – including myself – had forgotten that it was boiling hot and were cheering wilding in between fits of laughter.

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Phil Nichols

My only critique was that it was over too fast and that I wasn’t on the bill. Oh well next time, right? Cause dreams only work when you do…

Catch a show at the Comedy Store this summer, get line-ups and tickets now at Ticketmaster.co.uk.