Mining for laughs with the underground sex womble

23 Nov 2012 @ 5.06 pm
| Entertainment
Host, poet, singer… Tom Taylor
Review: Sitting Room Comedy
Venue: Monkbar Hotel, York

Tom Taylor couldn’t have chosen a more challenging night to launch his York version of The Sitting Room comedy club.

For a start, it teemed, lashed, pelted it down. And there was gridlock on many city streets thanks to the Christmas lights switch on in both St Helen’s Square and Coppergate.

This combination of events left me fearful that my companion Sam and I would be the only two in the audience. In the event there was a good turnout, just a few empty chairs speaking of the stay-at-home ticket holders.

The mistake was theirs. It was worth braving the downpour for a trio of comics who thoroughly entertained the damp gathering in very different ways.

The tone was set by our host Tom Taylor, who took to the wing-backed armchair to play keyboard and sing songs of catchy silliness and silly catchiness. His poem which shoe-horned the names of famous writers into increasingly tortuous rhymes had the gathering in fits.

The headliner was Lloyd Langford, a Welshman who was only just back on his feet after an illness which robbed him of his balance. It can’t be easy to be a stand up who can’t stand up.

But if he was in any way rusty, he didn’t show it. His was a mix of real-life stories and newsy observations. Jimmy Savile is certainly trending among comics right now, but I doubt if the rest could top Langford’s description of the late broadcaster as a potential “underground sex womble”. Genial and filthy.

Back on his feet: stand up Lloyd Langford

Stephen Carlin was new to me and a revelation. A “retired” alcoholic who drinks beer because it’s 95 per cent alcohol free, this Scot’s acerbic surrealism somehow bridged the reality gap. In Carlin’s world, the only way to end his relationship with a drinking buddy he doesn’t like is to seize on the upcoming gay marriage laws to marry him, then divorce him.

First on, Dana Alexander made much of the gulf between her upbringing in the “Texas of Canada” and her new life in Tottenham. Sometimes her London-centric material raised little more than a chuckle from the York audience, and she appeared to lose her thread once or twice, but her no-holds-barred candour won us round.

At the end, this rather unpromising function room in the Monkbar Hotel had been successfully launched as York’s newest comedy club. Tom wants to bring it back in January, a hope shared by an appreciative crowd.