Sunday, May 8, 2011

New York City

As a present to myself for finishing my M.Sc (finally!) I decided to go to NYC for a few days. After a long 8 hours alone in a car it was time to go to my first show.

April 30th, 2011: London Calling - Martin White & This Ambitious Orchestra

I arrived a bit early at Sullivan Hall, giving me enough time to have a look around the venue, grab a drink and say a quick hello to Martin before the opening act went on. During the opening set I saw James Dowdeswell wandering through the crowd. I was happy to see him, but also quite confused as to why he was there. Turns out he and Sarah Bennetto had decided that NYC is an appropriate stop on the way from Melbourne to London. Either way, it was lovely to properly meet Sarah and to see James again, and to have people to hang out with during the show.
During this gig Martin was performing with This Ambitious Orchestra, a group which is similar to the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra, but based in the USA. Having never seen the MFMO perform, I was excited to hear the songs. Martin and the usual leader of This Ambitious Orchestra traded back and forth during the set. Martin's songs were 'Thank-You For Not Discussing the Outside World', 'The Taste of Hair', 'Dudley and His Magic Pants' and 'An Adventure on the Transcarpathian Express' if I remember correctly. I had only heard two of them before, but it was a delight to hear them live. Nothing like the full sound of an orchestra to make me happy. When Martin wasn't fronting the band they played some brit-pop covers which were also pretty great. I'd be interested to see how this show differed from a typical MFMO gig, and hopefully will have a chance soon enough when I get over to the UK.
I stuck around for a bit after the show, probably having a drink too many and making an ass out of myself with my very sleepy brain, but I had a fabulous time and it was a great way to start off my trip to NYC!

May 1, 2011:
I woke up pretty late and joined my hosts and their other guests for a tour of the city. We walked through Central Park which is a completely man-made patch of 'nature' in the middle of the city. I'm not sure if it was the fact that the park was engineered, or the fences separating people from the grass or just the business of the park, but I found it all a bit unpleasant. I like my nature to be, well, natural. After that we did a bit of aimless wandering before taking a bus to Grand Central Station. It's very impressive. A beautiful marble building with a gorgeous ceiling painted with constellations and a massive gold clock in the middle.
The epic Grand Central Station

On the way home I caught a glimpse of broadway and Times Square, but didn't get a chance to explore.

May 2, 2011:
Mike and I had arranged to meet Martin at the Museum of Modern Art in the afternoon, so we made our way into the city to do some sightseeing before that. We walked through Times Square, past the Radio City Music Hall, around 30 Rockerfeller Plaza and past the stunning, but sadly under construction New York City Centre.
The obligatory Times Square photo

30 Rock

The Lego Store
After the sightseeing, we met up with Martin and went into the MOMA. I'm not an avid fan of modern art, but the MOMA had a lot of very famous pieces that I enjoyed. We started off with a more avant-garde section though. This was my favourite bit of that collection.
That's someone flipping the bird at famous landmarks. I am a child.
After the first couple floors the art got to be a bit more my style, with famous paintings from Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and Dali all making appearances. Starry Night by Van Gogh was by far my favourite. Also Dali's melty clocks, as I insist on calling it, was actually quite a tiny little painting. Still very cool to see up close. We finished the museum, I said goodbye to Martin who flew back to London the next day, and Mike and I made our way home. It was great to spend a bit of time with Martin since we are so rarely in the same city, or even on the same continent.

May 3, 2011 - The ridiculous walking day:

Mike and I took the ferry from New Jersey around to Wall Street. We saw the Statue of Liberty from afar and also got a pretty cool look at the Manhattan skyline. We walked the length of Wall Stresst at lunchtime when all the bankers were out on their breaks. It was very busy. We then made our way back to the South Seaport Museum where the Bodies exhibit was. If you've not heard of it, the best way to explain it is do to a google image search for 'bodies exhibition'. They used lots of really interesting dissections and preservation techniques which to very effectively teach anatomy. I really enjoyed it. After that exhibit and going to look at a big boat, Mike and I stopped for lunch. Then the walking began.
We walked up to the Brooklyn Bridge, then accross to the West coast of the island, then up the coast, then back into the centre of the island, then up Fifth Avenue to the Empire State building. It took quite a few hours, but was a really interesting way of seeing the city. We went up to the 86th floor of the Empire State building and then realised just how far we'd come.
If you can see through the smog, we'd walked all the way from the
top left of this picture.

It was windy that far up.
After that, we realised that we only had an hour to meet Mike's mother and friend for supper so we hiked past Madison Square Gardens down to the meat packing district (sounds tasty doesn't it?) where we had dinner in a quaint little restaurant. A much needed sit down after a long day. On the way home from dinner we walked past the Chelsea Hotel and got an impromptu history lesson from a passing stranger. Lovely end to a lovely day.

May 4, 2011 - Minchin Day!

It was a rather cold and rainy day and my feet were still quite sore from the previous walking, but we went out to a free concert in a church and to meet Marie, a friend from Kingston who had just moved to NYC. The concert was alright, baroque music and opera in latin isn't really my style, but it was great to see Marie, since I probably won't get to see her very much anymore. After that we went to The Morgan Library and Museum, a little museum set up by super-rich banking man JP Morgan. The building itself was pretty gorgeous and the exhibits included lots of very old books, an early hand-written copy of the Star-Spangled Banner as well as lots of ancients seals, jewellery and some cuneiform (!!) tablets. It was very interesting, but also a bit depressing that a rich American banker was able to buy so many artifacts from all across the world. After that, Mike and I made our way to Gramercy Theatre, where Minchin was going to be performing, had some supper then got into the show.
Pre-Tim Piano
The theatre was smaller than I was expecting, but I really loved the atmosphere. The crowd seemed pretty happy, but despite a sold out show, there were chunks of audience missing. Apparantly this is due to scalpers buying up the tickets, but it made me pretty angry considering that I was really hoping to go to more than one of his New York shows, but couldn't find tickets anywhere. I was really excited, because this was my first time seeing Tim do a full-length show since Edinburgh 2008. Before the show started I spotted Liza in the audience, and went over to give her a big hug, since we'd never met before. I can't remember the entire set-list from the night, but there was the appearance of old favourites (Rock and Roll Nerd, Darkside & White Wine in the Sun as his encore), and brand new stuff (Cont, Sam's Mum & Lullaby) as well as stuff in between (Storm, Pope Song, Prejudice). And lots of great new bits of standup, some audience banter (mostly because a guy shouted '10 foot cock' as soon as Tim walked out on stage), a new grammatical construct (I's) and a vocabulary lesson which taught us the words minge and whinge. Tim was on spectacular form, he seemed happy and loose on stage and it was a fantastic night! He got two, well-deserved standing ovations and even came back to play 'Second Encore' while standing on the piano bench, which made my night.
Liza, me and my sparkly boobs.

After the show, Liza, Mike and I went to wait for Mr. Minchin so that we could get some hugs. I got to spend some time with Liza and found out that she is even more awesome in person. Finally, Tim made his appearance and we watched as many very excited people got pictures hugs and signatures. Eventually our turn came around, I got a lovely big hug and he even remembered my name!
Tim looks great. I look slightly deranged.
He also told me (again) that he'd gone back and read my Montreal blogs. That still kind of weirds me out. I suppose I'll find out if he read this one when I go see him again in Toronto. I'm really looking forward to it! One for the forum, Me, Liza and Minchin with the cool T-shirt that Liza got him.

We made our way out, hugged Liza goodbye and went home. What a fantastic end to a lovely holiday. It almost made my awful M.Sc. work seem worth it! Sorry for not blogging in ages and ages, but I have had a very work-heavy and comedy-free winter. I will try to see more stuff from now on. Thanks for reading my dears! x

Monday, November 8, 2010

Billy Connolly

It’s been a long, comedy –free 2 and a half months since Edinburgh (well, live comedy anyway, I’ve bought a pile of DVDs) and an even longer 4 months since I’ve bothered to update the blog. I’ve been meaning to write up some kind of Edinburgh synopsis, but I’ve been busy and either typing out the journal I kept or spending the time cutting it down would take ages. But, I’ve just had my latest fix of live comedy courtesy of Billy Connolly!

He walked out onto the stage looking older than I remember, his hair white and quite long, but still sporting his trademark goatee and black T-shirt. He was also wearing the most amazing black and white stripey trousers and red platform boots. I approve. About 10% of the audience gave him a standing ovation as he walked on (something I have never quite understood), but he told them to sit and got the show rolling. He was on stage for about 15 minutes before explaining that his style would be somewhat haphazard. The way he goes on tangents, but somehow always manages to link back up to the original story is impressive. He started talking about how Ottawa is cold (just wait till February), which got him onto a story about Oslo (also cold), which took us from cigar shops, to a handsome, one-eyed, man in his pub, to his stuffed Scottish wildcat, to fishing, to sneezing with your eyes open, to childhood stories about his bitch of a school teacher and his gluttonous knitting auntie. It all made sense at the time, I swear. Interspersed with the brilliant anecdotes were a few angry sidenotes about ghost hunting programs and the church as well as some brilliant jokes. He even managed not to lose his train of thought when, about 2 hours in, his microphone cut out and he was left, in quite a large room, with only mime to entertain us for a few minutes while a techie ran to find a replacement battery. The show went on so many tangents that at some points I wasn’t sure if he’d completely lost the plot, but inevitably, a few minutes later, he’d get back to the original story. He described it as ADD, and I sort of have to agree. But every sudden change of subject kept the audience equally laughing and on our toes. It was 2 and a half hours of brilliance and he left us with my favourite story of the night, the last few minutes of the show I was in fits of laughter. Which made him all the more deserving of the standing ovation which he received at the end of the show (from all of us this time). After the ovation he did one last short joke, then while we were applauding, slowly collected his notes from the stool and meandered off the stage. Pure class.

I’ve meant to ask UK types before, but it seems in Canada we give a lot of standing ovations. From my experiences in Edinburgh, this is not something that is done in the UK. Feel free to fill me in on the comments. And in conclusion, the only disappointment of the night is that the National Arts Centre in Ottawa is a split-level building with about 9 sides and seemingly infinite possible exits. I had a wander round to look for the stage door, but found no group of people milling about. So I only have one photo from the evening. I’ll leave you with it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Montreal, Day 4 - Down Under, Jim Jeffries, Jamie Kilstein

This was my final day in Montreal for the Just for Laughs festival. I went to 3 shows and was lucky enough to be joined by my 2 best friends for the whole day! We went wandering the streets during the day and then got ourselves ready for my 4th Tim Minchin show of the festival! Mike and Sacha had only seen Tim at the AMP’d music show the previous night. It was awesome improvised mayhem, but he was only on for 10 minutes. They were looking forward to more.

Double Threat Down Under – Jarred Christmas, Rove McManus, Tim Minchin

Mike, Sacha and I successfully chatted our way into front row seats, which made me very happy. What made me even happier was to see a massive baby grand piano sitting on the stage! Even at the show in Toronto, the piano was a boring upright. Jarred Christmas was the compere for the evening. I like Jarred a lot from his appearances on Jon Richardson’s show and various podcasts that I listen to. He made it easy to see why he got the best compere award from Chortle this year! He got the crowd going and did some material about the world cup (causing confusion since we call it soccer, and we have our own league of Canadian football). Jarred then introduced Rove McManus. Now, I only know Rove from seeing him interview people like Ross Noble on his chat show. I wasn’t hugely impressed with Rove’s standup, but it was solid. He was delightfully self deprecating and charismatic. I’m very happy he was opening. Jarred came back on and did a short set while the crew pushed the massive piano into the middle of the stage. Jarred tried to ‘help’ by putting the 3-legged stool in front of the piano and by talking to one of the stage hands. As retaliation, the stage hand in question brought out the piano bench out and put it on top of Jarred’s stool. Tim was introduced and did his usual bumbling around on stage before he usually slinks back to the piano and does a song without having said much to the audience. Because of the double-stool situation, this plan was slightly foiled and Tim just insulted Jarred while setting himself up. Once it all got going, he played a STUNNING version of ‘Rock and Roll Nerd’. The piano sounded gorgeous! Tim was on fine form! And I found myself closing my eyes to hear the gorgeous bass tones of the piano. The sound was so full, it sent shivers up my spine! Sacha had told me that she really wanted to see Tim play RaRN so she was delighted! Tim then spoke to a young looking girl in the audience and did a bit that I’d seen in Toronto about the meaning of words, and how Tim’s not a role model... he’s a fashion icon. I love the awkwardness of Tim’s standup style. It’s charming and adds an absurdity to the really grand songs! He then asked the young looking girl if her name was Sarah. It wasn’t. He then pointed at me and said ‘her name’s Sarah, she’s my stalker’. The crowd tittered awkwardly, but my friends were delighted. Tim then made the segue that this song was for his Sarah, not me and did ‘If I didn’t have you’. As I was sitting front row centre, about 2 feet from Tim, I got the weird halo effect of the stage lights reflecting in his hair. That was very cool, but I also got the unfortunate side effect of their incredible heat. After a gorgeous display of wiggles, Tim sat down and played ‘Inflatable You’. I was hoping for another song since it’s not my favourite, but it was appropriate as someone had brought a blowup doll which was sitting at her table. After the song Tim pointed it out and had her throw it up on stage. He examined what was under the t-shirt it was wearing. It looked pretty gross. He made a quip about it being the perfect woman, if you’re sad and alone, then threw it back at the girl. Tim wasn’t sure how much time he had left, and eventually decided he would play one more song. After having heard it so many times on lesser pianos, I was hoping for ‘You Grew on Me’ again. Instead he played ‘The Pope Song’. I think I’ve reached my saturation point for that song as I found my lips moving to the words without really thinking about it. The song has gone down really well in Canada and he left the stage to more rapturous applause. I’ve been surprised and delighted to see how many Canadians love and have heard of Tim at all the shows and I’m hoping this will mean that he does more shows here in the future. Jarred, Tim and Rove all came back out for a curtain call and Rove handed me his camera, asking me to take pictures of them. I got one decent one, and a pretty bad one. I was foiled by the double-flash of a camera for the first time of last night. After the show, Sacha, Mike and I waited around so that we could see Tim and I was hoping to see Jarred and Rove as well. I got a quick ‘Hello, good set’ to Jarred before he escaped. Rove and Tim stuck around for a lot longer. We took some photos with Rove and waited around for the hoard of people mobbing Tim to disperse a bit before approaching him.

It's Rove!

Eventually we did and I got a big hello and kiss. Sacha and Mike introduced themselves a bit and I made some slightly self-deprecating remarks along the lines of ‘See? I have real friends!’. Tim was lovely, as always and we took a few photos.

Group shot! Best friends with Minchin! Does it get any better?

He also signed the little Just for Laughs folder that was holding my tickets. He drew a little moustache on it and signed it. I got a big hug goodbye, which my friend Mike tried to take a photo of.

Foiled by the double-flash. Aren't we pretty?

Sadly, we were foiled by the double flash again and it looks like this. Sacha, Mike and I then wandered away, delighted. Sacha and I went to our next show, and Mike went back to the hostel for a little while.

Sacha and Mike sharing and atheist-front hug just after Tim's show. Aren't they cute?

Jim Jeffries – Alcoholocaust

Sacha and I found the venue for Jim Jeffries and got seats at the front.

Right before Jim Jeffries' show. This is one of the few ones from the evening where double-flash wasn't an issue.

Jim started off with some material about women, and relationships which I found a little bit too much. Women DO pay for their own drinks, and comedy tickets, and we’re not all psycho bitches. The jokes were alright, but it’s a bit of a tired theme in comedy. Then Jim moved onto some material about religion. This won me back very quickly but seemed to lose the rest of the crowd. So Jim moved swiftly along a very long 25 minute story. It was amazing! I don’t want to spoil too much, but it’s basically about his friend who is almost completely paralysed from muscular dystrophy and how he’d never been with a woman. The story was beautifully told and included lots of wonderful details! It had me laughing all the way through! At the end of this story, Jim realised that he had 5 minutes left in his hour and chatted with the audience for a little bit. To the point where he sorta pimped himself out to the audience and told us a (hopefully fake, but you never know) room number and the hotel he was at. He also told us that Jimmy Carr was in the audience and compared the sexual experiences of himself and Jimmy who’s in a very long-term relationship. I think he left the show with ‘any questions?’. It was a thoroughly enjoyable show! I’m glad I picked the variety of people that I did at the festival because after the previous acts I’d seen it was nice to see someone say ‘cunt’ so many times.

Jamie Kilstein – No God, No War, No Nickelback

Sacha and I made our way over to meet Mike at Jamie’s venue. I’ll tell you now, I didn’t get much sleep the night before, maybe 6 hours and the jager-bomb (jagermeister dropped into half a can of red bull) I’d had before Jim’s show had worn off a bit. Luckily, I was really excited to see Jamie again and that kept me going. I sat in the second row off to the side. I’ve met Jamie a few times now and I know that it can throw him off a little if someone he knows is sitting right at the front. He thanked us all for coming and mentioned that he’d forgotten to promote the show because he was too busy promoting Wednesday’s show (when HBO executives were coming) and Saturday’s show (when his Dad is driving up from New Jersey to see it). I’d seen a fair amount of the material before, but he had re-worded/modified some of it since the last time, and he kept going on little tangents because he started saying the extra little thoughts that were in his head. Most of them were related to the paranoia of his Dad coming on Saturday and some strange bitterness about the girls who broke his heart in high school. These things added a little new flair to the stories I’d heard before and, as someone who adores Jamie’s quirks, insecurities and neuroses, these made me laugh like a maniac. Jamie has a tendency to really fast-talking and take no pauses when he gets going on a rant or long story, so the crowd was holding back laughter a bit so they could hear the rest of his stories. He noticed this about 40 minutes in and said something like ‘Oh, if I leave a pause, you guys will laugh... you don’t all hate me’. It was true, I’m used to Jamie’s style so I was laughing throughout the show, but I think the rest of the audience wasn’t sure how to deal with it. Either way, I loved the show and was happy to see the Church of the Smiling Vagina and the Christian Side-Hug which both started their life on Citizen Radio (the radio show that Jamie and his wife Allison host). Jamie ended the show with a story about his Dad (which also originated on Citizen Radio) because he couldn’t do it when his Dad would be in the audience on Saturday. After the show I said hello to Jamie, who was happy to see me and happy that I brought my friends. And I finally introduced myself to Allison. I know I’ve spoken to Jamie while she’s been there a few times before, but I’ve never actually introduced myself. She was really lovely and I’m glad I said hello. Jamie asked if I’d be going back to the Hyatt hotel bar (where all the comedians hang out). I had convinced Sacha and Mike to join me there, so we walked over.

I was incredibly tired by this point, but I’m still so thrilled that I went back to the bar. As we walked in Justin Schlegel spotted me and came over for hugs. He and his friends also commented on my tits. So that was a bit awkward. Once my friends and I got a bottle of wine and found a place to sit, I had perked up a bit. It might’ve been the wine, or just the excitement at everyone, but I gained a little more energy. As we were chatting, I spotted Colin Mochrie across the room. Sacha, Mike and I all love ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ so we decided that we’d go over and say hello. He was so lovely! I said how much I liked ‘Whose Line’, especially the old UK episodes, asked what he was doing in town (doing a panel discussion), and how long he was here for (he left the next day to go to India). We chatted for what seemed like quite a long while and finally got a picture with the legend himself.

It's Colin FUCKING Mochrie!! What a legend!

I did a little more wandering around the bar, and saw Noel Fielding. I hadn’t met him yet, and didn’t get a chance to tell him how much I enjoyed his show, so I said hello. I felt a bit rude as he was chatting to some other people, but I went with the ‘now or never’ mentality. I asked why he hadn’t done his standup show in the UK, but in Canada. Apparantly he’s too busy in the UK to do the show, but has the time to come to Canada for 2 weeks to do it. Either way, I’m glad he came. He told us that he’d just recorded a Boosh album in New York and that he was busy working on a new TV show. I asked for more details, but he didn’t have any. I’ll keep an eye out for it. Then we took a photo.

Noel Fielding! Once again that night, I was foiled by the double-flash. So sorry it looks terrible. It’s all I got.

Sacha, Mike and I then moved on and sat back down to chat a little more. Jamie came by, and quickly said hi. He mentioned that Doug Stanhope was doing an ‘anti-Montreal festival’ somewhere nearby. I was interested in checking it out, but it was already really late and we were all really tired. At this point, Tom Wrigglesworth came by looking for his wife/fiancĂ©e, Lulu (sorry, I don’t know if they’ve gotten married yet). She had gone somewhere, so he sat down with us for a moment. We had a good little chat about the show, when Lulu joined us. The conversation continued the curly-headed madness between Mike and Tom, the legal privileges of diplomats (it made sense at the time) and rolling cigarettes (we don’t do it here). They were both very lovely people. I hope we can hang out in Edinburgh a little bit more. Tom and Lulu went out for a smoke and we hung out a little longer. Jamie came by again, we talked for a while longer, discussing the Christian Side-Hug a little bit more, before exchanging proper, atheist front-hugs and goodbyes. It was last-call at the bar, so we decided to wander the bar once more so I could say bye to the people who I met over my time at the festival. We went outside to the patio/smoking area where Tim Key had been hiding... seemingly all night. We had a little bit of a chat with him as well, I got to ask him the all important question. The answer is 6. He had 6 different notebooks in his new suit for Slutcracker. I also know that he’s going to be in Edinburgh from the 8th taking part in The Horne Section. I’m now more tempted to see it. Des Bishop also was out there and I got a hug. So did Sacha (they’d not met before... but Sacha’s a hottie and Des was feeling friendly). Tom and Lulu were standing next to Key, so I gave them each a hug on the way out. Tom is very tall. I like hugging tall people. On our way out, Justin Schlegel saw me again and gave me yet more hugs and yet more compliments about my tits. What a charmer. And that’s it. The end of the festival.

We walked home, getting poutine (and onion rings for me, I don’t like the idea of it) on the way home.

Sacha and Mike 'cheers'-ing their poutine. Nerds!

4am onion rings after 4 days of awesome comedy? That is a really tired but really happy Sarah!

What a great few days! Today was rough on very little sleep and getting back to reality. But it was all worth it. I had a great time, met lots of awesome people and laughed a lot! What more could I ask for? If I met you in Montreal, thanks so much for making my festival great! And if I didn’t, thanks so much for reading! If you like comedy stories, I’m going to Edinburgh in just over 3 weeks, so there will be lots more bloggage. Probably only when I get back though, I don’t want to have the responsibility of bringing a laptop with me. Thanks for reading everyone and sorry about the stupid long rambling nature of this.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Montreal, Day 3 - Tom Wrigglesworth, Tim Key, AMP'D

Another day, another 3 comedy shows! My friends Mike and Sacha (both recent Tim Minchin converts) came in from Kingston to join me for some shows.

Tom Wrigglesworth – An open return letter to Richard Branson

I should give my background here. I had a ticket to see this show in Edinburgh last year. I even queued up for the show. But I had really awful food poisoning that day and couldn’t face an hour in a hot room without the very real possibility of vomiting on someone. So I went home and slept off the food poisoning. I was kindly informed by my friends who did attend the show that it was amazing and that I had really missed out. So I was very happy to find out that it was made into a BBC Radio 2 programme. I listened to that, loved it, and still regretted having missed out in Edinburgh. Needless to say, I was delighted to hear that Tom would be performing the show in Montreal! The fact that I had already heard the story did not detract at all from the night. Tom’s storytelling style is wonderful! He paints a beautiful picture with words and adds wonderful little details for extra comic effect. Some things didn’t quite translate to a Canadian audience. After the show Tom asked me if we used the word ‘bell-end’ here... we do not. He also inquired about the concept of ‘health and safety’. I’m familiar with it because of the amount of UK-based comedy I watch, but it’s not called the same thing here. And I can’t figure out what we call it either. The concept translates, but the wording doesn’t. Despite the story being rather UK-centric, the audience really enjoyed the show! It was great to hear a proper storytelling show rather than the series of jokes that I’ve been seeing recently! Tom also won over my friend Sacha who had to run from the bus station to get to the show on time. I briefly said hello to Tom after his show, he was a lovely man who asked what else I was seeing and decided to tag along to the AMP’D music show later on.

Tim Key – Slutcracker

Tim was in the same venue as Tom just half an hour later, so I took back my front row centre seat and got comfortable. I hadn’t seen Tim perform live before and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I loved the show! The first thing I noticed was that the stage was littered with things; books, toy cars, a typewriter, a cake, a violin case and a massive fridge. If you haven’t seen Tim live, his character is a shambolic poet, he recites poems and shows little videos as well. Tim came out on stage in a track suit jacket and trainers, so his first order of business was to change into his suit and shoes on stage. He then poured himself a beer into a large glass, took a sip, then handed it to me. Front row centre made me the beer bitch. Throughout the show he would just look at me and hold out his hand... that was my queue. Key started the show by reciting a few poems which he was ‘reading’ from the various notebooks that were in every pocket of his crumpled suit. The poems ran the gamut from silly to strange to downright terrible but it was all brought to life by Tim’s delivery and commentary. Part way through the show, during one of the videos that he played, Tim disappeared into the audience. When the lights came back up he was standing on a table in the second row. He was going to try to get onto the fridge without touching the floor. He had brought up the idea of this game a little earlier, but it was still fairly silly. He commented that this is usually harder cos the tables near the front were meant to be filled with people (the audience was a little sparse for the show, and those who were there cowered at the back instead). He climbed over chairs onto the stage and made us decide between standing on a book, and standing on a cake. Clearly the cake was the popular choice. It always is. So he took off one shoe and the sock and stepped onto the cake, then with his other foot onto the typewriter. Then he looked over at me. He asked me to come up onto the stage and that was when I started to worry. I was expecting to get cake on me. Instead he simply asked me to hold him up while he put his sock and shoe back on his cakey foot. He must’ve trusted me cos I ended up supporting most of his body weight. Good thing I’m strong. I then brought him his beer. He asked if I’d just carry him to the fridge, but I’m simply not strong enough for that. He got a rather stronger man to do it instead. While Tim and the man were scrambling to get up the fridge Tim grabbed the empty wine bottle on the fridge and tossed it at me. Luckily I can catch and wasn’t too drunk. I wonder how often Tim gets dropped or the wine bottle gets broken. After this little interlude of madness Tim read some more poems from atop the fridge. I also forgot that his cup of beer wasn’t mine and took a swig. Oops... The show ended with a few more poems and some videos. I loved it! It was my favourite show of the festival so far! I will definitely be booking my ticket for Edinburgh (and maybe try not to get stuck as the beer bitch again). Tim came out after the show and I said hello. I apologised for potentially weirding him out in the bar the previous night and reminded him that I was the one who made the 24 hour show book for Mark. That seemed to ring a bell. He thanked me for being the beer bitch and for supporting the show... literally. After a brief chat I went back to the hostel to meet my friends before we went off to our late night show.


AMP’D was described as a musical comedy show and I thought it was going to be just Beardyman and Minchin. I was wrong. Beardyman was the compere of the show. He is an amazing freak of nature! An unbelievably talented beatboxer the entire audience were in awe of his skills. He did some beatboxing just with a microphone, then went behind a mixing table where things got really interesting. He took suggestions from the audience for 2 different kinds of music, then with the aid of layering from the mixing table, he created a fusion of the two. The man has amazing skill. So I was a little surprised when he introduced Axis of Awesome. I like them, so I was happy to hear them play. They did ‘Four Chords’ everybody’s favourite! Sadly, they wimped out on including ‘Canvas Bags’ like they usually do since Minchin was on later in the bill. After Axis of Awesome and another Beardyman interlude another act was introduced. I don’t know or care what their name was. It was a double act, who had quite good vocal skills but did a tedious song about the ‘shocker’ (two in the pink, one in the stink for those who aren’t familiar). It’s generic groups like them who give musical comedy a bad name. The woman who was next was even worse. She was a larger lady and came onstage in a ‘dress’ that was so short you wonder if it’s a shirt. She basically sang about being a bit of a slut and flashed her see-through black thong at the audience. Her act was showing her minge on stage. Classy. To make matters worse, for her second song she had 2, 10 year old girls come out and accompany her. It was the worst thing I’ve seen in a long time. Poor Beardyman had to get back the amazing party atmosphere that was happening before she came on stage. Luckily the man’s fucking brilliant, so he did, then introduced Bo Burnham. This was the 3rd time in the last week that I’ve seen Bo do that same 10-15 minutes and his stuff doesn’t hold up to that much repetition.. I seized the opportunity to go for a wee. As I popped out of the room I spotted (and probably freaked out) Jarred Christmas by saying ‘Hi Jarred’ quite excitedly, but continuing on my beeline for the bathroom doors. I rejoined my table for the rest of Bo’s set and some more of Beardyman’s brilliance. Last up was Tim Minchin! At this stage I will just say, to anyone reading to PLEASE GIVE MINCHIN A PROPER PIANO!!! He was on a keyboard again for this show. His first song was a half-improvised duet with Beardyman where Tim was self-deprecatingly saying how hard it was to follow really great acts. After that, Tim fully improvised a song about the construction going on in Montreal. I love improvised songs. It’s such an impressive skill. Then Tim played the ‘Pope song’ encouraging lots of audience participation. Last up was ‘You Grew on Me’ again. Either the house lights were up higher than I realised, or Tim had seen where I was sitting before he went on stage, or a freaky coincidence, but he directed most of the song right at me. To the point where the eye contact started to freak me out a little. What can I say about ‘You Grew on Me’ that hasn’t been said? I love it. The show ended to lots of rowdy applause and I went to try and sneak my friends backstage to find Minchin. That didn’t work. Then we somehow ended up in the upstairs bar where Tom Wrigglesworth, Tim Key, Jarred Christmas, Jim Jeffries/Jefferies and company were all hanging out. I seized the opportunity to briefly say hello to Tom and have a bit of a longer chat with Key. Sacha and Mike (my friends) were standing slightly awkwardly to the side so I introduced them to Tim Key. When Jarred Christmas came over I said hello to him again and explained that I knew him (and Key to a fair extent) off Jon Richardson’s show. I didn’t stay for too long as my friends wanted to go see if Minchin was outside. We waited outside the doors for a bit, but we never saw the big ginger hair so I assumed he had snuck out. Instead we went to a little pub nearby for another drink (a water for me... I was quite intoxicated by that stage) and then home to bed.

I’ve got 3 shows to see tonight, then I have to leave this beautiful city and the amazing comedy times tomorrow morning. Tonight I’ve got the ‘Down Under’ show with Jarred Christmas, Rove and Minchin followed by the solo shows of Jim Jeffries and Jamie Kilstein. It’s gonna be a good night!