As Sara Pascoe explains, the peculiarities of a ‘job’ as a comedian, that is more ‘craft’ than job equally applies to describing whether something is funny or not. Her example was that of a chair-maker - and not to give away the punchline - her point was that a chair either works or it doesn’t; it supports you or it breaks. Equally, clearly comedy is either funny or not.
Fortunately for The Miller Pub’s Comedy Festival, nestled upstairs in the London Bridge upstairs venue, they had four great acts and an engaging host to open their festivities.
Fortunately for The Miller Pub’s Comedy Festival, nestled upstairs in the London Bridge upstairs venue, they had four great acts and an engaging host to open their festivities. Glenn Moore, Chris Martin, Dane Baptiste and Sara Pascoe were introduced by Abigoliah Schamaun. And drum-roll please... it was a sturdy chair of a night.
For a residential festival it’s important that the venue is welcoming and likely to lure you back, or at the least recommend to others. All the staff members are friendly, both in the regular bar downstairs and the ‘interval bar’ which temporarily opens upstairs in-between the first two acts and the last two. No trekking back to the main bar once you are settled... it’s the little things.
Glenn and Chris are clearly the undercards here, charged with settling people into the night and they were both refreshingly original in their own way. Glenn Moore is a mix of Richard Osman and Hugh Grant in appearance and manner. Full of one-liners, twisted at the last, and impressive little observant anecdotes. His confident delivery, albeit missing an element of conversation with the audience, is a change from awkward, edge-of-the-seat compère Schamaun.
In contrast, Chris Martin, on a break from his hectic Coldplay tour, bases much of his act around siddling up to the audience. Happily married at twenty-nine, he takes a unusually sunny look at marriage with no complaints and a confidential style of sharing his revelations with the crowd.
Baptiste uses bizarre imaginary situations, including an opening ‘black man chicken joke’ to slip in his socio-political commentary and a persistently feminist standpoint. His dry delivery, only scantly absorbing audience reaction is a balance of practise and feedback. After Moore and Martin, his experience, but combination of styles was an astute choice on the billing.
The night is rounded out by Sara Pascoe, although Dane Baptiste is as assured company as her, perhaps the TV persona is the kicker in being a headliner. Having broken up with her boyfriend of many years she lifts the lid on stories which previously had been vetoed for comedic material. Her genuinely chaotic style still works as a disarming effect. It really feels like she could be your friend and is just reeling off thoughts from the top of her head. Of course there’s calculation to it and it’s testament to her ‘craft’ and personality that she still draws you in.
With acts like Carl Donnelly, Abandoman and Holly Walsh, The Miller Fest is definitively worth a look.