Monday 9th June was not a good evening to be either a comedian or audience member at the Cellar's Free Beer Show. The three comedians on display attempted to eek laughs from a laconic and heat-stricken crowd, but never really seemed to hit their stride. Compere Jack Whitehall showed some promise with his Russell Brand-a-like schtick and musings on contemporary culture. Moreover, although clearly terrified, he dealt relatively well with one of the most intense and unnerving hecklers I have ever seen at a comedy club, who walked to the front of the stage and demanded to be able to tell "just one joke". Said heckler was my personal highlight of the evening just for the sheer knuckle-biting awkwardness and the exasperated attempts of the organizers to deal with it (in light of this I suspect they may be tempted to rename the event The Free Prozac Show).
Support act Natalie Luurtsema met with an uninterested response from the crowd, which I felt was at points unjustified, given that she had some brave and potentially original material in her portfolio (alongside some less inspired gags). Lastly the headliner - Canadian comic Glenn Wool, premiering his Edinburgh Fringe Show - gave a lacklustre performance, consisting of underdeveloped sections from his new show which he proceeded to read from a notebook. The new material frequently meandered for too long without adequately paying off. However, the man clearly has talent as a performer and is a real stage presence, delivering his set with the energy and intensity of Jack Black. He too dealt well with another obnoxious, drunken heckler who was intent on talking over the majority of his set. Yet his ending comment, delivered with only a hint of irony: 'if you want more, pay more next time", basically summed up his approach to the evening, and smacked of sour grapes. Overall the event was a messy and slightly uneasy affair, but for a fiver (which includes a free drink), who's arguing? Well, there were a couple of people - but at least it kept them off the streets for an hour or two.