Comedy Club 4 Kids is a first-rate comedy show for children and adults alike. Children were given free rein to laugh, scream and participate whilst adults watched their precious (or precocious) ones become a focus of the show. With the kids corralled at the front, and comedy not so much dumbed-down as bogeyed up, the adults enjoyed the humour every bit as much as the children – this was the highest quality comedy of my 2014 fringe.
Comedy not so much dumbed-down as bogeyed up
Ben Van der Velde, with true martial artistry, knows how to use the strengths of his audience to his advantage. A self-confessed ringer for ‘the annoying child from Outnumbered’, he seamlessly draws on the natural talent of children for bizarre comedy and without a trace of ego is content to allow them to take centre stage – both figuratively and literally – with hilarious results. He tackled perhaps the hardest hecklers any comedian would have to deal with (with their minders looming large in the background) with aplomb – “Do you come with subtitles?” - and somehow even managed to deliver some of his material, which successfully appealed to the wide age range of his audience.
Jonny and The Baptists is a musical comedy act comprised of Jonny, accompanied by his band ‘The Baptists’ (one guy with a guitar). Jonny has complete control of his audience from the start, declaring that he will play some songs “and then its bedtime” – an added bonus for the parents. With songs covering such diverse topics as love, soup, monkeys, crisps and, (my personal favourite) health and safety, his rich voice and sharp wit made for a pleasurable mix of hilarity. There is even an important safety message for children to take away with them – “Don’t drink Mum’s wine”.
After a PowerPoint presentation covering bullying and zombie parents, stand-up Joe Wells shifts to the serious subject of bogey addiction and having delivered a long list of inspired bogey ‘street names’, children throughout Brighton will likely be dipping into (erghh) their enriched bogey lexicon for months to come. Finally, after staging a bogey intervention on an unsuspecting father – it is after all, a largely adult problem – bogey substitutes (brussels sprouts) are distributed amongst the audience. Making a rapid exit from the stage, he leaves Ben Van der Velde to face a now fully-armed audience.
The children are revolting! At least, they were by the end of this riotously funny hour spent in the company of some of the best emerging acts on the comedy circuit.