To Wivenhoe Town Cricket Club! …on Thursday evening as the Winterval no-man’s land period between Christmas and the New Year continued to ebb away at the arse end of 2011. With three more moons before 2012, a man who sits on the sofa during any arse end is a man who may as well disappear up his own backside in boredom.
Careful what you wish for, arse lickers.
But anyway – cricket, you say? The wet walk down Rectory Road wasn’t quite the occasion for getting padded up and strolling out to the crease. Instead some silly mid-off action was on the agenda in the lovely pavilion with the Wivenhoe Funny Farm Comedy Club.
With the Christmas TV schedules seemingly humour free, a hyperlocal comedy night out at least kept @AnnaJCowen and I away from another repeat of that bloody awful David Jason balls-up of a comedy bypass. If you want belly laughs then you need to see some live comedy. All the better if it is taking place right on your doorstep.
This was a special gathering for the Funny Farm, being almost a year to the day since Hazel Humprheys’ brilliant night out first moved to the current home of the Cricket Club. The venue is simply perfect for the occasion, offering a compact space to bond with like-minded folk, a decent bar and the splendid isolation of no neighbours to worry about, once the laughter levels rise.
Which would all work rather well during a summer cricket match as well.
Ha, bloody ha.
Some comical booking confusion led to five acts appearing on the December bill. No worries – the last laugh came from the punters, who for the incredibly generous door charge of £6, probably had the best value ticket in all of North Essex – and that included the impromptu performance that we witnessed at chucking out time at an unnamed nearby pub. Best book up that artist for a guest spot at the Funny Farm next month.
Paul Ricketts opened the evening, with a well-observed set about ageing. The front few rows conveniently comprised of a young loving couple, some middle-aged blokes and a very dignified and playful mature gentleman, who went along with the Silver Fox theme for the rest of the evening.
Newcomer Claire Nelson from Clactonia confronted all the Essex Girl prejudices, and came out with some decent one-liners. Sajeela Kershi explored the comedy value in her British Asian background, plus her love of sex toys.
Al Cowie continued the identity theme with an insight into the comic value of growing up in Northern Ireland. The headline set from Cole Parker was confident, confessional and contained probably the funniest story I have heard about conversations with Yummy Mummy’s at the school gates.
And so three hours, five acts and six pounds: not the name of another crappy TV Christmas sitcom, but the wonderful Wivenhoe Funny Farm. Any sleepy estuary town that can boast an independent comedy venue has to be taking the p***. Not out of itself, but out of the apathy of arse sitting and waiting for things to happen. Pull up your pants and do it yourself.
The first Funny Farm of 2012 will take place at the Cricket Club on 26th January. Which should keep you smiling through January bank statement blues, recession, blocked roads blah blah blah.
Yeah, ha bloody ha.