Tuesday, 26 July 2011

"Wishy Washy Liberals" A night at Old Rope 25th July 2011

I've been on hiatus, my apologies. I was always planning to come back though I wasn't sure what with. You see EVERYBODY is going to Edinburgh without me this year. A combination of bad planning and poverty meant 2011's Edinburgh Fringe wasn't going to be my first *violin* but there are still previews to be seen and I will do some Camden Fringe 2011 reviews whilst everyone else is in Edinburgh.

This isn't really a review. For those unfamiliar with Old Rope I'll give a brief overview and then explain why I'm not reviewing it. Old Rope is held every Monday (except Edinburghs and major winter holidays) at The Phoenix, Cavendish Square. Old Rope does well for a number of reasons; it is cheap, it is central and all the acts are established, if not household name, comics. Why is it so cheap, I hear you cry (okay...just pretend) well it is a new material night. This isn't as hideous as it sounds but in other ways is and thus I wouldn't feel right reviewing new material, some of which doesn't work and will never be used again. Plus @jaykayell_ said that would be cruel and I know in my heart he's right.
A night at Old Rope
 There were nine acts on tonight and it was a mixed bunch; Sarah Kendall and Tiffany Stevenson did the stand up equivalent of what I hate in sketches: good ideas that go nowhere, but no bother this is new material and they will smooth it out/throw it in the bin.Tony Law was also on. I love Tony Law. I think I might want his children or at least to see him do a whole hour. He's kind of shouty but is brilliant with accents, even though his own voice is so great he doesn't need to do accents. Richard Herring headlined. I used to adore him and Lee together during Fist of Fun and TMWRNJ but to be honest I mainly watched because I fancied Lee. Herring's solo show this year seems like I something I would see the whole hour of but I'm still not sure I like him. Personalities come into play a lot more in stand up than it does in sketch. To be honest the other acts didn't really stand out though I was pleasantly surprised by Dave Gorman.
Sarah Kendall

None of that really relates to the point of my blog post title. I'll explain now. One comedian, who I had never heard of before but was established in Australia faced a particular hostile crowd. Poor Jacques Barrett. Actually not "Poor Jacques Barrett" the impression I got from our compere, James Dowdswell, was that Barrett had come all the way from Down Under to find his comedy pot of gold on the London and Edinburgh comedy scene. I've never seen an experienced performer misjudge a group. His material *SPOILERS* basically consisted of being bummed by big scary men. Barrett has issues and the audience responded with the contempt the material deserved. My sympathy lies in the crestfallen look Barrett had until he left, a man on the verge of tears at how badly it had gone.
Jacques Barrett

I think the London comedy scene is a rather tolerant bunch, we will politely clap and everything but the moment we sense there may be some unsavoury intolerance we switch off; we officially hate you. Are all jokes that may seem homophobic, racist, sexist, transphobic all bad? Personally I don't think so. I should you be able to joke about ANYTHING. Why? Because people will never be happy, so do what you like. You can do those kind of jokes but there has to be the right intention, the right motive, the sense that if anybody said that seriously you'd find it as disgusting as the rest of us would.

Comedians' material play on their insecurities, I believe. They also play on other people's fears; if those fears and insecurities don't meet up with the audiences' (Barrett worries about being done up the arse by big scary Aussie blokes, I worry if I can get away with eyeliner...) then you've lost them and don't even bother to try and make a joke out of it. We hate you now, go away.

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