Piccadilly Comedy Club London New Comedian Of The Year 2015
The comedy world’s 2015 started with the final of the Piccadilly Comedy Club London New Comedian Of The Year 2015.
My intention was to review the show here, but that seems a little daft as I run the club and picked the finalists. So, let’s be honest, I’m going to be a bit biased. So instead I thought I would explain how those acts got to be there and why and also give my opinion on the event in general.
Unlike every other comedy competition in the UK, you can not enter it, there are no heats, semi-finals or qualifying events. At most of our shows at Piccadilly Comedy Comedy, we have a “new(ish)” comedian opening part two. It’s a great way for the club to bring through newer acts, let’s the audience see a potential future star and gives the act a valuable go in front of a great audience in a quality comedy club.
To be totally clear, none of these acts are very new. Most have been gigging for between two to three years and have clocked up many hundreds of gigs in that time. Compared to the pro acts though, that is still pretty new.
The criteria for the final was simply, which eight of those did I like the best. However, having picked the comedians for the final, I then stood back. I was not a judge in the final and did not even MC the show (the MC was the excellent Mike Belgrave).
So having picked the acts, here is my non-review of the night.
Audience (the most important people): Plentiful (the show was totally sold out) and wonderful as usual.
Judges: Steve Bennett (from comedy industry website Chortle), Ben Williams (Time Out Comedy Editor), Paul Flavney (London is Funny editor), Clare & Jude (from Social Solutions)
The Comedians: Just a quick note… The running order was random, decided by drawing lots. On the journey in to the show I thought that any order would be great as long as Magnus Turner and Russ Peers were not first and second. Not that they are not good acts, it’s just they are quite low energy and therefore suited better to being a little later in the show. Guess who drew first and second?
Magnus Turner MP: An inventive and clever character act by Richard Rycroft. Gently sends up the whole gaggle of MPs rather than being party political. Really suffered by going first.
Russ Peers: Has some delicious lines and a real warmth on stage. Seen him do better than he did in this show though.
Laura McClenaghen: Part one finished with another low energy act. Laura’s downbeat view of the world and her place in it contains some delicious lines and some brilliant writing. Recently her performance quality has started to catch up with the writing. The audience liked her, but again I have seen her perform better recently (nerves? big occasion?). Still, it did not stop the judges awarding her second place. Go Laura!!
Edd Hedges: Part two opened with high energy story telling from 19 year old Edd Hedges. He has a brilliant ability to turn mundane topics (public transport, his appearance etc) into inventive comedy gold matched with top notch delivery. He had, to use a comedians term, a belter of a gig. The judges gave him third place. If it was an audience vote, he would have won.
Archie Maddocks: Another excellent story telling comedian. He is slick, extremely likeable and has some cracking material mainly mining his Trinidadian roots. I was very surprised he did not make the top three.
Tom Ward (pictured): If a gun was pointed at my head and I was made to pick one up and coming comedian who could go on to be a big star I would have to plump for Tom Ward. Usually effortlessly funny and extremely natural on stage. Tonight it didn’t quite work. Maybe nerves again?
If he had put in the kind of performance he usually does he would have won (probably).
Amir Khoshsokhan: Part three started with spell-check nightmare Amir Khoshsokhan. Another star in the making. His excellent delivery of what turns out to be a subversive take on innocence (his entire 10 mins was on pretty much one topic) won him the trophy. Well done Amir, and on the night I agree with the judges.
Ben Clover: After seven acts Ben Clover faced a tired audience… But that did not stop Ben having a great gig. An excellent bit of audience interaction got some great laughs and his inventive material won over the drained audience.
I spend a lot of hours and numerous sleepless night’s deciding who I think should be in this final (oi! Steve Bennett!! That is not a “whim”!) and I really hope that for those who made the cut the profile it will bring them will help their careers.
Roll on 2016!