There was a smaller crowd than normal at Dirty Secrets Comedy on 1 February. While there were lots of laughs to be had, the night did have the occasional weird moment. These moments were largely dependent, or as a result, of how the comedian approached the smaller audience and how the crowd responded.
With this in mind, I will focus on the comedians who were particular highlights before covering some of the other elements.
Sam Taunton did a great job as MC. He acknowledged the audience early on and his crowd work improved as the night progressed. Sam’s style of comedy is largely classic observational and suits Dirty Secrets Comedy well. I particularly appreciate Sam’s clear and approachable manner as he delivers quality material. HUG ACHIEVED.
Greg Larsen as ‘Colin’ dealt with a potentially touchy subject. That said, he did so in a novel way that drew the audience in and brought waves of laughter. Greg’s commitment to the ‘bit’ was effective regardless of the audience size and he should be commended for how he approached the set.
As I’ve noted previously on Hugging Comedians, surprise Dave Thornton is always a good thing. Even when he is working on new material (like he was on 1 February), he brings energy and experience to the stage that compliments a night well. Dave worked through a range of fixed and malleable content, most of which resonated with the audience. However, some of his set appeared to suffer in the battle between finishing off the first bracket strongly and audience members wanting to refresh their glasses.
Simon Taylor and Nick Capper have very different styles but both approached their sets well. Simon had more of a classic delivery, with a range of prepared and rehearsed quality material that he delivered well to a relatively unresponsive audience. Conversely Nick delivered his humorous (but more left-field) material in a less linear fashion, which appeared to resonate with the new crowd that came in for the second bracket.
The night lost some momentum during periods of some depressing, rather than amusing, stories and where comedian(s) blamed the audience for not laughing. I have seen enough gigs where a comedian’s material that was performed elsewhere to raucous laughter has received little more than an awkward cough on a different night. This is surely part of what being a comedian is and such moments require an ability to adapt. This could be through a variation to the delivery or even changing up the content slightly. Where I take issue is where a comedian blames the lack of laughter on the audience. This outward display of frustration, and in some cases anger, does not help the audience or the comedian.
Overall I had another fun night at Dirty Secrets Comedy but it is an important reminder that this is a FREE ENTRY night. There will be ups and downs as comedians try out new material. What is also important is to remember that these nights also run on donations. I sound like a broken record at times, but at least put in a few coins when you leave. This will go towards the comedians but also to ensuring consistently good comedy nights. What goes around comes around right?