One thing that my husband and I are known for is our love for stand up comedy. Since 2010, birthday and Christmas gifts have often been in the form of comedy tickets, and it’s meant over the years we’ve seen some of our favourite comedians, including Russell Howard, Lee Evans, and Jimmy Carr. Back in the day it used to be a rare special occasion treat, funded by our student loan, however now we actually earn money it’s something we treat ourselves to a little more frequently. 2019 however, was the year we seemed to break the record for the amount of shows – nine of them to be precise.
So, I thought I’d put together a little review of the comedy shows we saw in 2019. Now, I’ll say right now that I’m not a comedy critic. Therefore, you won’t see the same intelligent reviews you read in high-end newspapers on on dedicated comedy blogs. Instead, I’ve tried to talk about my favourite moments from the routines, my thoughts on the venue, and you know, any general events that happened at the time. Enjoy, and if you do nothing else after reading this, check out all these comedians on YouTube.
Nish Kumar: It’s in Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves
Anson Rooms, Bristol University Students Union, March 2019
Support Act: Sarah Keyworth
Our first comedy gig of 2019 was Nish Kumar, and this was the first time we’d seen one of his shows live. It didn’t particularly get off to the best start as we were involved in a minor car accident on the way to the venue, which meant we were pretty late and to be honest, massively pissed off. As the venue didn’t have reserved (or tiered for that matter) seating, we ended up right at the very back meaning we had a shitty view, so I wasn’t best impressed by the time we actually got to our seats. However, Sarah Keyworth, who was the support act was brilliant, and cheered me up just in time for the main show to start. If you’ve seen Nish Kumar on The Mash Report, you’ll know that a lot of his current material is rather political and focuses mainly on Brexit, so most definitely wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but we loved it and he said pretty much what a lot of us were thinking. Despite the circumstances and the less than ideal venue, overall it was a bloody funny gig and it was quite a cathartic take on everything that has been going on in the world of politics.
Rachel Parris: It’s Fun to Pretend
Komedia, Bath, March 2019
Again, if you’re a fan of The Mash Report, you will have heard of Rachel Parris. If you haven’t, I suggest at the very least you watch this clip below:
We first saw Rachel Parris in 2018 at a smaller venue and she was brilliant, with a tour show focused around giving a speech at her old school. It’s Fun to Pretend not only featured some of her best material from this show, but there was also some hilarious new material too. She’s also brilliant at musical comedy, and she sang a number of songs that were not only relatable but also incredibly funny, my personal favourite being Hen Do on a Train. We’ve already booked tickets for her 2020 tour and I can’t wait!
Jimmy Carr: Terribly Funny
The Pavilion, Bath, May 2019
We’ve seen Jimmy Carr quite a few times in the past and he’s always been brilliant. Of course his style of comedy isn’t for the easily offended but we both enjoy these kind of jokes so it’s quite difficult for us to be offended by them! There were some incredibly dark but wickedly funny jokes in this tour, but one thing I’ve always loved is how he deals with hecklers. Love him or hate him, you have to admit he has some bloody good put-downs for anyone who heckles! He quite often does meet and greets and the end of the show too, and he’s so nice! The only downside of this show was the venue – we’ve been to the Bath Pavilion before and it’s not ideal, especially during the summer. It’s incredibly hot and crowded, there’s no tiered seating, and on this occasion there was only one person serving at the bar. Not great, especially when we appeared to be going through a heatwave that week. All in all though, a great show that didn’t disappoint.
James Acaster: Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999
The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, June 2019
This was the first time seeing James Acaster, and if I’m completely honest, he was my favourite act we’d seen this year. While the subject matter was actually quite dark, as he spoke about his mental health, the end of a relationship and being dumped by his agent. However, how he approached it was honest, hilarious and I related a lot of what he said on the mental health front. The Wyvern Theatre is also a great venue too, it’s small enough to not get overcrowded, it’s comfortable, and for us it’s easy to get to as well. All in all, my favourite gig of the year.
Funny Bones: Nish Kumar and Friends
Bristol Hippodrome, June 2019
This was a charity gig in aid of Above & Beyond, which is an amazing charity that supports hospitals across Bristol. It was a fantastic gig and everyone in the room had one thing in common – that we all bloody love our NHS. Nish Kumar headlined, with some different material to what we had seen previously in March, but there were loads of other acts too, including Laura Lexx, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, and Mark Olver to name a few. There was something for everyone in terms of styles and jokes, but at the heart of it was the message that our NHS is incredibly precious to us and we need to do what we can to take care of it.
Ellie Taylor: Don’t Got This
Komedia, Bath, October 2019
Support Act: Sarah Keyworth
As you may have realised, our love of The Mash Report influenced quite a few of our decisions when it came to comedy shows in 2019. This was the first time we’d seen Ellie Taylor and she didn’t disappoint! As Komedia didn’t have reserved seating on this occasion, we managed to get seats in the front row which was even better. We were also pleasantly surprised to hear that Sarah Keyworth was the support act too, and she had some new stuff to when we last saw her. The main focus around Ellie Taylor’s show was how she had recently had a baby, and featured some hilarious anecdotes – one of the best being an awkward encounter on a plane involving a breast pump and a fellow passenger. I really enjoyed the show, and my personal highlight was when she liked my Instagram story that I tagged her in. Major fangirl moment.
Ed Gamble: Blizzard
Rondo Theatre, Bath, October 2019
The Rondo Theatre is probably one of my favourite venues for comedy because it’s small, it’s cosy and there’s cheap drinks. A lot of the material in Ed Gamble’s show we had already seen on his Amazon special, Blood Sugar, however, seeing it live somehow made it funnier, and there were a few bits we’d actually forgotten. This show was probably one of my favourites of the year too, I genuinely had tears streaming down my face at several moments – the best ones being an anecdote about sponsoring a guide dog, and his dad adopting a cat. Check out the special on Amazon Prime if you can and both routines feature!
Rhod Gilbert: The Book of John
Bristol Hippodrome, November 2019
We had been fans of Rhod Gilbert for years, but by the time we could afford comedy tickets for a regular treat he didn’t appear to be touring anymore. So when we managed to get tickets for November we were BUZZING. Unfortunately on the day itself I was slowly recovering from the lurgy so I wasn’t buzzing quite as much, however the show itself was hilarious and just as funny as Rhod’s Man with the Flaming Battenberg Tattoo show. The subject matter was quite heavy, given that his break from touring was down to the loss of his mother and his father having a heart attack, along with suffering from a mini-stroke himself and dealing with potential fertility issues. The inspiration behind the show came from John, the chauffeur he hired after his health issues prevented him from driving, and the show focuses on the various conversations and discussions they had. Don’t be fooled by the subject matter though, anyone who has seen Rhod’s stand up before will know his form of storytelling and sheer rage make for a fantastically hilarious show.
Suzi Ruffell: Dance Like Everyone’s Watching
The Pound, Corsham, December 2019
Support Act: Rosie Jones
Our final comedy gig of 2019 was at the rather lovely Pound Arts Centre in Corsham to see Suzi Ruffell. We’d seen various snippets of her stand up on shows like Live at the Apollo so we were quite looking forward to seeing her, and even more pleasantly surprised when she announced Rosie Jones as her support act, who was absolutely hilarious. The main focus of Suzi Ruffell’s show was how she had found happiness with her new partner, and she told loads of brilliant anecdotes, along with a finishing story about how she and fellow comedian Tom Allen went to Pride in New York, which was not only heartwarming but incredibly funny too. Definitely a fab show to finish the year on!
So, that’s our comedy diary for 2019. Believe it or not, we’ve already got a fair few lined up for this year too, and undoubtedly more will be added. This is what we’ve currently got booked in for the first half of the year:
- January: Rolling Funder: Charity gig with Jon Richardson headlining
- March: Josh Widdicombe, Ed Byrne and Iain Stirling
- April: Joel Dommett
- May: Rachel Parris
- June: Russell Howard
I’m excited for all of these, but I especially can’t wait for Russell Howard. We’ve seen him quite a few times and each time he just seems to get better. And you know, I love him. The current tour only seemed to have arena dates, which we decided to stay away from, just because they’re too busy and too much hassle when it comes to leaving the venue. However, when they announced dates for the Bristol Hippodrome last year, I was straight on the website booking those tickets.
All going well, I’ll actually review these properly, so at the end of 2020, I’ll have a much more detailed and articulate comedy review for you, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed!
Have you seen any comedy shows recently? Are there any comics you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!