Stand Up for Cider – Heat 2 – 8th April

So here we are again at heat no 2 of the Taunton based Stand up for cider competition and it was a busy one, with 12 acts, MC Chris Walker and headliner Rory O’Hanlon. So lets just get on with the night itself as it turned out to be an interesting night;

First up in the difficult opening slot was Ade Bowen, a newish act from Weston Super Mare, whose definitely improved but still finding his comic rhythm, confident onstage and some nice gags on Lucozade, star wars and the facebook/tits joke got a big laugh, got a few groans but everyone seemed to have some sort of one liner/pun in their set. so a good start.

Next up Rob Cauwood, probably the oldest act on tonight but who bounded onstage with the swagger of comics half his age. Immediately referenced the audience set up in the front row, 15 or so seats that ran from young to old, a very smart observation, some steady material, a comic very comfortable onstage and chatted to the audience well and a strong MC.

Louise Leigh, a very engaging act who connected with the audience and you could feel the bar rising. MOCBATF….you’ll just have to go and see her live to know what that’s about. Got the first big round of applause, loved her voice of organic veg reference and the observation re autism was equal parts funny and brutal and if she can write material of that quality, there’s a bright comedy future there for the taking.

Ant Burn was next up and this was a much more assured performance from Ant, a west country Geordie, the funny one liners about being a bad dad are there but he seems on the cusp of breaking out of that with longer stories, the cats ass routine was excellent and points a way to the future and a visit to dragons den aswell!

Tony Davidson, 5th act of the first section and the Welshman from Splott, started off slowly with a reference to marmite but then took that by the scruff of the neck and gave a mini masterclass on how to wring a lot of laughs from just one thing, smelling of yeast, was my top pick of the night. simply excellent.

The final act of the first section was Kathryn Ferns, a Canadian, a good act, plenty of the fish out of water material you would expect but I think she struggled abit having to follow Tony and the energy that had been built up and also 6 acts in one section was pushing it for attention spans and I think some audience members were getting twitchy for the bar. An assured performer, who I got the feeling that tonight didn’t come across as strongly as they would be normally.

Suitably refreshed we dashed back for Section 2. and kicking this off was Mark Hurman, another comedian from the Weston Super Mare ( is there something in the water over there, the answer is yes and southwest water are investigating). Mark seemed to hit a perfect comedy note and got some big laughs off the crowd and surfed the comedy wave. His Egyptian cotton joke is a particular fav, clever and funny as f**k. Had him joint second.

David Wroe was on next and as a newish act finding his feet, probably suffered abit in comparison to the more experience Mark but he had some nice stories and liked the north/south wales comparison.

Matt Potter hit the stage next, Essex boy Matt bought a lot of local support and got some big laughs of some laddy material re easyjet, lots of nervous energy, he prowled the stage, good to see another new act finding his voice and persona.

Harvey Hawkins was next up, the fact that Harvey even got to the gig tonight was outstanding and well beyond the call of comedy duty ( promoters, take note, Harvey will get to the gig. no matter what).  after breaking down enroute and getting to the venue virtually just before going on, he brought a very different tone and direction to proceedings. This was refreshing, loved the stories about his mum and facebook and swopping the sugar, shades of Milton jones in deadpan delivery, an interesting character act.

Darryl J Carrington was the penultimate act, bristol based comedian had some great visual jokes, the noises and acting out having sex infront of the mirror was very funny and even more so when he kept referencing back to it. got a big laugh with it.

Final act of the competition was Katie Pritchard who bounded on the stage with a lettuce and mixed high energy bounding round the stage with amazing singing, uke playing, great use of many lettuces? original and a great act to finish the heat.

My voting went – Tony Davidson 1st, Louise Leigh and Mark Hurman joint 2nd and Katie Pritchard 3rd..

The audience vote went, Louise L winner ( by a clear vote) Tony Davidson 2nd and Katie Pritchard 3rd and all 3 go into the final in July. which along with the 4 finalists from heat 1, makes for a very interesting line up. just heat 3 to go.

A very strong heat and what was pleasing was that every act brought something that connected, there wasn’t one act who did badly.

I’m just surprised in the week of all the tax avoidance scandals, no one act made any reference to it?

Rory O’Hanlon headlined and was suitably choice to bring the night to a laughing ending.

Shout out must go to Chris Walker who is just perfect for these sort of evenings, funny man who knows where to find the comedy in the audience…hit the spot with the brother and sister out for night out…this is Somerset!