Comedy Club 4kids is billed as 'the best comedians on the
The afternoon made me feel an extraordinary sympathy with primary school teachers. The rowdy feel of a comedy club, the heckling, the cringing at (only occasionally!) a joke which fell flat on its face. Without the alcohol-fuelled camaraderie and etiquette of adults, I was left with a massive grown-up headache.
Adult audiences are usually, like a tidal wave; with the comedian or against them, but with kids there was no way of knowing. Some would audience participate enthusiastically, others would stick their hand up and leave the comedian to fill in the void. Some would heckle while overtly supporting the act, some would laugh while seeming to dismiss the act. A tough audience to crack.
The host, Tiernan Douieb, managed to make, for me, one of the funniest jokes out of such adversity; about being in Iffley. “So (to child) you’re from Iffley?” (“No”) “You’re not from Iffley?” (“No”) So there are two worlds out there; Iffley and not Iffley. A few jibes at the expense of the place ‘not Iffley’ and we’re all laughing.
Comedian #1, Paul Duncan McGarrity did a few gags relating to the meaning of first names, which caused quite a lot of mirth as to why people were given the names they were given. His own given name 'Paul Duncan' meant 'small and brown one', which led us back to the ubiquitous laughing point: poo. But please don’t get me wrong, none of the acts were ‘dumbed down’ in any way; on the contrary I thought it appealed both to the childishness of children and their intuitive intelligence, achieving a difficult balance indeed.
Finally; and it has to be said with a lot of relief (not of the brown kind) the final act, Jay Foreman, brought his guitar along. Bottoms were starting to wriggle on seats, so we desperately needed a bit of musicality to offset the worst of the hecklers & wrigglers. On his website he is lauded as the ‘Victoria Wood of the Spotify generation’ We bought the CD which in his own words, was ‘shamelessly plugged’ during the act, in part due to the gratitude I felt (as one so often feels as a parent) towards him for keeping the kids quiet.
This was a one-off show for now but Pegasus, thankfully, have a number of shows coming up which ought to do the fine balancing act of what can be broadly termed ‘edutainment’ for kids. Later this month they will have Chores which explores circus skills and Duckie, an imaginative retelling of The Ugly Duckling.