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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

Despite feeling like death wrapped up in a blanket last night, I decided to keep my promise to myself and my cousin, and headed down to the monthly night of Walkout Wednesday at The Stand. Walkout is a night whose aim is to offend as many people in the audience as possible - I guess the ultimate aim would be to get the entire audience to walk out in disgust. Really, though, what tends to happen is that the comedians just end up pissing people off and irritating them rather than downright offending them. It still, really weirdly, makes for quite an entertaining night, so long as you're not caught in the cross fire.

The compere was needlessly offensive to everyone in the audience, but diplomatically so - he made sure that every single person in the audience was picked out for the same treatment. He was quite nice to us though, I'm not sure why, as we sat with our feet up on the stools in front of us and arms crossed so solidly that we couldn't have been more defensive.

Another act (I'm not going to use their names, because I don't want any of this being reproduced as a genuine review. It's not. It's just that I'm bored and trying to kill time before lunch) came on and, having made a valiant attempt to do some of his usual routine, went off on a complete rant about a new comedy award he had been in the semi-finals of, and the fact that it was rigged, that the judges didn't know what they were doing, and that the compere - a telly comedian - was completely crap. All of which is actually (and probably verifiably) true. It was great. And the self-indulgent nature of the night meant that the only people in the room to understand what he was on about were the other comedians, my cousin and me.

Low-light of the night - you think it can't sink any lower, and then on comes this man - was someone standing up on stage, wearing a kitchen roll on his finger, with a bar of soap strapped to his hand, talking endlessly about his cleaning obsession that runs past obsessive compulsive and straight in to the arms of psychotic. The best/worst moment came when, having accosted one of the other performers and vowed to give him a bath, he then stood stock still while his poor stooge tried to ask surreptitiously what was supposed to be happening next. After fifteen incredibly long seconds, some music kicked in, and he continued like nothing had happened. Three people in the audience, including me, were at that stage weeping helplessly. Everyone else was physically exuding hatred.

Another act, rather than running through his already-quite-offensive-to-Christians act, instead talked the audience through the act, commenting at intervals why we would have found it funny if he had delivered it in his normal manner. This approach threw him just as much as us, and in the end he had to keep asking for prompts from his friend sitting at the back (who later came on stage and drank bleach).

Having been to see so much comedy in my time, and with a month of at least five hours every day of comedy looming towards me like a big scary uncle, last night was a brilliant release. I love the fact that it’s all so half-arsed, that it’s deliberately offensive, but merely in a childish manner, that they don’t actually give a crap for just once, and that everyone can saw what they like when they like. I wish other comedy clubs would be as brave as The Stand are for putting on and supporting this big pile of self-indulgent, pointless nonsense.


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