Comedy Showcase 04.02.12
It’s always a challenge starting a new blog. Looking down at a blank sheet of paper, trying to come up with something fresh and original can be daunting at the best of times. It really does seem like an impossible task, something that I admit I often try to put off to the last minute. It must be exactly the same feeling that my partner gets when she looks down into the laundry basket on Sunday mornings and sees the large pile of shirts, socks and boxer shorts (plus my Saturday night thong with “ You Can Have Me...If You Can Find Me “hand-stitched in red silk down the front) I’ve dropped in there during the course of the week.
Not that I’m incapable of doing my own laundry. Believe me, I’m no chauvinist, expecting the lady of the house to do all the menial jobs. I willingly do my share. Well this is the 21st Century after all. Only last night, when she came in through the back door, struggling to carry a huge pile of logs which she’d spent the afternoon chopping-up for our open fire place, I immediately put down my newspaper, my glass of vino and my inch-thick steak sandwich, then jumped up off the sofa and without a second thought…closed the back door to stop the cold draft from freezing my bare feet which I’d been warming in front of the fire. D’you know, she was so grateful for my thoughtfulness, she only knee’d me in the nadgers the once? Try and tell me that’s not true love.
All joking aside (for a moment) apart from being incredibly fortunate to have an understanding partner, I’m also blessed with some very good, talented friends, who I consider to be part of the creative and comedy-minded team that I’ve been able to build around me. Despite the fact they are comedy professionals – performers, writers or a combination of both – there is absolutely no rivalry between us. You may find that hard to believe, but it’s true.
There’s not a jealous, violent bone in our bodies. And I’ll slap the face of anyone who disagrees, right? Despite the fact we’re all of us part of one of the most competitive, cut-throat, allegedly bitchy businesses you can name, we all like each other and respect the different styles, attitudes and varied material we each bring to the comedy table. I have a comedy table at home. I get people to sit on it and not only does it make an incredibly loud farting sound, two of the legs then fall off, causing my guest to fall to the floor, often causing excruciating back pain or at the very least, bruised buttocks.
I know it’s very juvenile, but it never fails to make me giggle. I’m only kidding. The farting sounds not that loud.
These comedy comrades have been invaluable over the years and have encouraged me, stretched me and helped me develop and build on some great comedy and ensemble show ideas. ‘Team Evans’ share ideas, joys and sorrows – but despite our closeness, I have to tell you that none of them are willing to share their chips. You try and steal a chip from a fully-grown comedian and you’re asking for trouble. Not that anyone with any sense actually asks for trouble. That would plain stupid. Imagine walking into a bar and when the barman asks what you want, you say “I’d like some trouble please”. I mean…that would just be asking for trouble.
Recently I found myself hosting and performing at a theatre not far from home with 7 of the most promising comedy performers in Wales. When I say “I found myself hosting….” obviously I didn’t just suddenly wake up and find myself on stage, with a microphone in my hand. I live in the real world. Not Narnia for goodness sake! Narnia’s the next county to mine.
The show featuring that cavalcade of comedians took a lot of preparation. Carefully working out what would work and impress. What would complement each other? And who would work well as part of a team. All are important ingredients in the production of a successful show. It was hard selecting acts that would complement each other and make the event something that would touch each member of the audience with the magic of comedy. It took me months to set it all up.
And it was worth all the time and effort because it was in aid of a wonderful childrens charity Follow Your Dreams and when I asked the comedians to help out, they all promised they’d be there on the night. Which was a bit premature on their part, because I hadn’t told them the date or what or where the venue was. Comedians, eh! Are they a whacky crowd or what?
But of course they did turn up at the right venue on the right date and thankfully, so did the audience. The theatre was packed with people who were not only happy to support the charity, but were looking forward to having a night out in a comfortable, welcoming venue where they could relax and have a damn good laugh. You know. Just like that mixed sauna you go to, down the little alleyway behind Greggs.
Their obvious eagerness to seize this chance to exercise their chuckle-muscles with both hands (Dr. Ken Dodd prescribes chuckle-muscles should be exercised three times a day before meals) was a positive start to the evening as far as I was concerned.
It was my job to open the show, compere the evening and give each performer an up-beat introduction that reflected their individual experience. The rest was up to the comedians…
These guys and girl were all different, original and most important of all…funny. Each performer soaked up the atmosphere instantly and took the audience on a journey which was exciting, entertaining and full of surprises. Like the audience, the line-up of funny menand woman were made up of all ages, which was great because it made for a real mixture of styles and material.
Here’s the roll call of the stand-up stalwarts who helped make the night such a success. My thanks go to…
Geraint Evans – who was the ideal act to open the show and set the scene for what was to come. Great delivery with a laid- back style that got constant laughs from the off.
Alan Wightman – a man who has written material for nearly every mainstream comedian of the past 30 years. He showed that not only could he come up with slick and polished gags, but knew how to deliver them like the best.
Matt Steele – for his warmth and likeable personality. He brings comedy magic alive and never fails to amaze his audience.
Ignacio Lopez – The Welsh Spaniard just goes from strength to strength. A must for every variety show, he leaves the crowd wanting more every time.
Eirlys Bellin as ‘Rhian’ – she was my ‘wild card’ and a surprise to all. She had instant rapport with the theatre audience and was like a breath of fresh air.
Daniel Glyn – who hit the stage running with some tightly written and well paced material that guaranteed laughs from start to finish. Finishing off his set with a ‘call-back’ gag that just bowled everybody over.
Gary Slaymaker – the big man was my choice to headline and close the show. He is a true pro and has the confidence and persona to own the stage. A story -teller who mines a seam of well-timed comedy gold at a steady and constant pace…and always ends his set with a belter.
Some of the comedy routines were a little risqué and one or two weren’t so much ‘near the knuckle’ as ‘right up to the elbow‘. Others were reflections on such diverse but comedy-rich subjects as phobias, relationships, Spanish holidays, drunkenly shaving male body hair at three a.m. on Christmas morning…and how someone felt fully justified in charging a Las Vegas ‘ lady of the night ‘ $4000 for Welsh lessons. No. I can’t explain that one here. You had to be there. All the routines, whether saucy or silly, went down a treat. There literally was something for every comedy taste.
Once again the team spirit came together to provide what can only be described at one of the best nights of comedy you will ever see. Over two hours of non-stop laughter that raised money for a deserving charity. It was a pleasure to be part of it and I know from talking to the comedians immediately afterwards and subsequently, that they had a great time and would be prepared to do it again…anytime. So I might well hold them to that.
The feedback from this event has been both amazing & moving.
Within an hour of the show, one lady wrote to me vie facebook the following message:
“Hi Phil just wanted to say thank you for putting together such a lovely evening of laughter for us all to enjoy and for such a worthwhile cause.
I haven’t seen my dad laugh like that for a very long time as he’s been battling with depression.
Before the show started he was very restless and uncomfortable due to being amongst so many people – then during the interval after much laughter he turned to me and smiled saying ‘thank you’ for tonight and he gave me a hug.
This is from a very proud man who doesn’t show his feelings very often – Think you’ve helped more people tonight than just the charity, that says it all Phil, love and god bless to you xx”
She then went on to add: “I’ve cried all the way home Phil, thank you so very much 🙂 xxx “.
Unusually for me, after reading that, I was lost for words.
I can’t think of a better way of ending this blog.
Until the next time….