Could it be there was another sterling night of comedy for free in Clapham last Sunday?
You heard right soldier, there was!
But norovirus took out one of the acts we’d booked leaving us a man short. Thankfully the supremely-talented Tom Ward was on hand to step into the breach.
He’d only come to watch Ian Lane (he of the persistent arms) but, on hearing of our plight, filled in with his powerhouse set.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves gentle reader, hush hush.
First on was Rosie Wilby. The Teahouse Theatre and Fat Controller crowd-pleaser warmed the full room with her warm yet sparkling wit. Always a pleasure to host.
Christian Elderfield made his Fat Controller debut after Rosie had left, geeing our audience into, frankly, dangerous paroxysms of fun considering some of them were still eating (sort it out man, 8.50pm too late for dinner). With lightning improv trimmings surrounding the prime loin cuts of his material he was this-is-a-bad-metaphor-but-you-get-the-idea a joy to have down.
Despite being near full punters kept coming upstairs, attracted by the freeness and evident hum of quality emanating through the floorboards.
Three latecomers had a spirited encounter with never-less-than-genuinely-exciting third act Jamali Maddix. While Jamali’s material is always horrendously funny the man relishes going off-road, and the epic mountain of banter he scaled with the three marketing girls saw one audience member reach for his cameraphone to try and preserve the moment for posteriry.
Then it was emergency stand-in Tom Ward who kept energy levels high with his brilliantly-crafted, pacily delivered set. Well worth travelling to the end of any of London’s tubelines to catch.
Ian Lane, fresh from his triumph at the Max Turner competition earlier this month, brought up the pre-rear, or penultimate spot.
The wizard of closely-observed precision surrealism entranced our by now two-deep leaning on the bar audience. His signature, physically-demanding closing bit was a joy to behold, transubstantiating the house red of screentop mundanity into the blood of comedy Christ.
It was left to Oli Bettesworth to close the show, which he did with nonchalant aplomb.
A highlight was his wringing big laughs from suppressing a justifiable mild annoyance at having the punchline to his closing bit spoiled by a baby-noise heckle (“Gwah!”) and staying polite. A very commendable job indeed and a pleasure to have him.
There was no prize this week as we plain forgot but in a way everyone was already a winner.
A PS shout out to our favourite recurring audience member, Peter. Nice to see you Peter!