WARM up shows for the Edinburgh Festival are inevitably a bit hit and miss.
Comedians prepping their new shows for “the big one” often try out work out what works and what doesn’t in front of audiences like the Tobacco Factory.
Some are better prepared than others, and that was pretty clear from the last two performances at Bristol’s BrouHaHa festival on Saturday night.
Carey Marx’s approach was to take various routines scrawled on bits of paper and randomly pick them up off the table.
It was a novel idea but while some worked, most didn’t.
The kernels were there but it just didn’t come together as a cohesive performance.
The best material was about the obnoxiousness of a woman talking loudly on a mobile phone on the train, as he announced what she said to the entire carriage as if he was presenting an important speech.
Routines about various unique parts of the male and female anatomy were also ok, but sadly can’t be reproduced in a family newspaper.
Bizarrely what didn’t work at all were the Jewish gags, which fell flat one after another.
It would seem that just because you are Jewish doesn’t mean you can be funny about it.
With a week to go until Edinburgh starts, Marx said “Laziness and Stuff” needed a lot of work and he was right.
Of the two Phil Nichol was far more successful, hitting the ground running with a fantastic first half.
Born in Scotland, raised in Canada and living in London he’s quite the comedic hybrid.
He’s perfected all three accents to great effect, switching between them at an increasingly fast pace in one impressive sequence.
He’s a very high energy performer, a big fan of jazz hands and theatrical flourishes that are reminiscent of American acts like Robin Williams in his stand-up days.
Nichol admitted he put in all the good stuff at the start of “The Simple Hour”, so when he reached the half way point he quickly began to run out of steam.
His scheer likability as a performer carried him through though and even if a gag didn’t work, the way he reacted to it falling flat was funny anyway.
He threw in some songs towards the end that needed more polish, but there was real potential there.
With a bit more work you can see him becoming a household name.