RHUL Comedy Society presents a night of stand-up previously performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
By Nicholas Ross
On 28th September, Royal Holloway’s Comedy Society set up in Medicine to put on a spectacle of hysterical stand-up in which audiences of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival had previously basked. Having left the venue at ‘Stumble Out’ (Medicine), I navigated the dim paths of forestry behind Founders eavesdropping on other audience members walking in the same direction. ‘Oh my God; he was actually so funny!’ remarked one enthusiastic silhouette to its friend. Unusually, popular opinion was in tune with my own. ‘They could be professional,’ said another shuffling figure. Everyone indeed had intact the conviction of their earlier cackles.
For an event free-of-charge, leaving with any resentful notion of diminishing returns was an unlikely prospect. However, given the title of the show, Naughty Comedy for Naughty Boys, I departed a couple of hours prior to the eavesdropping from my innocent student abode through a gleaming aperture with misgivings that I might be subjecting myself to an evening of tedious Jimmy Carr one-liner bombing and political-incorrectness for its own edgy sake.
The show ended up surpassing anything I could have imagined. Four performers were introduced by an MC who interacted with the audience between acts. The first performer, Archie-Brooks Watson, began with a protracted ‘prank’ in the form of a reimagining of the history of Stand-up. Implied to be a non-comedic lecture, the segment was, perhaps unintentionally, entertaining (its comedic essence appearing like an analogue of Stewart Lee’s). After that section he conjured an impressive intimacy with the audience and shared his brilliant, quirky creativity. He performed some of the least formulaic comedy I have seen, a captivating concoction of hilariously shocking punch lines and build-ups peppered with dark humour.
Kieran Salmon followed, proving himself an amazing storyteller and astute observer of the gritty realities of young adulthood and the soul-destroyed among us by acting as if fuelled by some boozed-up nihilistic void: He spoke of physiques spiralling into dilapidation; our futile romantic efforts including banal and superficial dating apps; and our innate inability to control laughter at sources of amusement in inappropriate contexts (like grandma’s cremation).
After the interval, Guy Cole ruminated on the subject of Islamists’ everyday lives including their motivations and logistics through a geopolitical lens tinted with satirical obscurity, providing amusing solutions to the problem of terrorist threats. Treating the audience to the weird and wonderful destinations of obsessive meditation, Cole demonstrated a hilariously inventive imagination.
Finally, the Comedy Society’s President Philipp Carl Kostelecky took centre stage. The macho English student in me hates to admit that during this performance, I cried with laughter. Some of Kostelecky’s impressions and accents were pitch-perfect like those performed by a young Jim Carrey. While hostile to racism, he demonstrated certain phrases and circumstances incongruous to particular cultures. White people’s assiduous fear of incurring odium by being accidentally racist led to a humorous adventure of international commentary. His performance was the perfect end to an extraordinary night of comedy.
As mentioned above, the MC played a vital part in the evening. Before every act, James Butler intermittently stole the show. In the possession of a genius control over call-back jokes, he developed a relationship with some individuals from the audience. He had complete command over this audience participation even when one member attempted to outsmart the comedian’s audacious interrogation.
The Comedy Society evidently allows uniqueness to flourish in the club. The performers were a charming cacophony of personality swimming in a vat of wit and humour.
Featured image courtesy of RHUL Comedy Society, from another event