So heat 2 of SUFC was upon us and 9 acts lined up in what turned out to be an extremly strong heat, helped along by a very busy venue and the stage being moved from the side to the end of the room, which I thought helped keep the energy of the room much better.
First up, after resident MC Wayne Beese had warmed up the crowd nicely, was Nathan Webb who did well in that traditional difficult opening slot, he kept to a good time and has some nice lines, good start, Coral Halliwell up next got some good laughs and managed to keep the crowd onboard with some risque material, again didn’t overplay her time which has tended to go against acts in the comp. Third of five in the first half was Riordan Deehan Jackson who went down a storm, some fantastic lines and call backs, and two rounds of applause during his set, probably one of the best reactions I’ve seen at the competition, next up was Mark Wall, who left me abit confused with an opening piece referring to the MC, it was obvious that a huge amount of work had gone into the writing of this set but somehow it didn’t connect with the audience enough and wasn’t helped by having to follow Riordan, and at 10 minutes was the longest set of the night.
Final act of the first set was Neil Braeman, a set I really enjoyed, great story about a homeless man ( which along with sleeplessness, seemed to be a recurring theme in the sets tonight), which had some good topping lines. Good first half.
Second half saw Steffan Evans open with a strong set, good use of appearance, which was offbeat, second up was Sal Drummond who focused on her autism, some good lines but not enough punchlines left the audience wanting more, and they certainly got that with act 3 Nick West, great energy, great lines and a very strong performance, final act of this heat Joey Cannon had a tough job following Nick, that he managed to top Nicks performance with a shambling anti comedy routine of misplaced jokes, poetry and impressions, had the audience in stitches.
Whilst the count was being conducted, Tony Davidson ( already a finalist) popped in for a quick set to remind the audience that the final is shaping up to be very strongly contested this year. Headliner Josh Pugh, english comedian of the year 2016, topped the evening off beautifully with some lovely material.
In the end, the heat was won clearly by Riordan, closely followed by Joey with Steffan Evans third and Nick West as the wild card.
Only one final heat remains in May.