Stand-Up Literature, Fri 18th October 2019
Jericho Comedy’s stand up offerings usually deliver a great mix of laughing and learning, but you can’t win ‘em all, and tonight’s show fell a little short of the usual high standards.
The format is a winner, and one that I’ve seen them pull off many times before: a bunch of funny people saying funny things, loosely based on an academic topic like science, philosophy or history. Sometimes they even include the occasional academic talk to give the full Oxford experience. Tonight’s offering was based out of the (perhaps slightly too well lit) Blackwells bookstore in the Westgate, and themed loosely around literature.
Our stalwart host Alex Farrow was his usual charming self. Funny, easygoing and comfortable in his own skin, Farrow effortlessly engaged the crowd with banter, in between well-rehearsed set pieces. I had heard some of the material before, but it’s solid stuff which got me and the rest of the crowd in the mood for some highbrow ha-has.
First up was Micky Overman, who by her own admission was trying out some new material. Overman delivered her material in a chatty style, and got some good laughs, though she did lose some momentum for having to refer to her notes a fair bit. I appreciated some of the brave material choices and, though not every one landed, it was nice to get some new themes.
Next up we had Patrick Spicer. Adopting a convincing posh banter style reminiscent of Alan Partridge, I felt like Spicer had much to offer. His act relied heavily on a slide deck, which I generally enjoy, but without a clicker and lacking some practice meant the timing wasn’t quite right. So things that should have been quite funny didn’t get what they deserved. With a bit more elbow grease and some quality assurance, it feels like there could be a really good set there.
After a break allowing the audience to browse books and buy beer, our host Farrow returned with a strong set blending together comedy, science, fun and facts. There’s no doubt that mirthful factoids make for strong and engaging material. Unfortunately our next act Cherly wasn’t quite comfortable enough on stage or with her material to keep up the good humour.
The evening finished with a decent set delivered by Chelsea Birkby. Firmly placing herself into the millennial category, she treated us to a well-thought-out set on the philosophy of Kim Kardashian. Confidently, if a little breathlessly, delivered, Birkby had some good material. Though it also could have done with a polish and a practice, I thought the concepts had the potential to be both funny and interesting, and could turn into a really cracking set.
Though it wasn’t my favourite Jericho Comedy night, it has been great before and the potential was clearly evident. I will be coming back in the future to try again.