If you haven’t yet been to one of the Funhouse Comedy gigs in Grantham, you don’t know what you’re missing.
If you’re thinking ‘it’s Grantham, not a big city, the acts can’t be that good’ you’re wrong. Some pretty big names on the circuit are attracted to the shows, organised and compered by Spiky Mike.
He got Thursday’s show in the Guildhall ballroom off to a great start with a bit of banter with those sitting in the front row, including one lad, a joiner, who got a bit of a ribbing when he said he didn’t know what MDF stood for.
Thankfully, my husband and I avoided the dreaded front row seats, but only just. Despite the fact that we arrived a full 25 minutes before the start of the show, we managed to snag the last two seats not right at the front. So let that be a warning to you – arrive bright and early or spend the night with your head down hoping you don’t get picked on.
We later learned that it was the first time the Funhouse gig had sold out, which is surprising given it really is a quality show and great value for money – advance tickets are just £10 each.
First up was the first of two headline acts, Tom Wrigglesworth, who was clearly a seasoned comedian. He was relaxed throughout, so much so it sometimes took a second or two before the joke sank in.
And then there was Roger Swift. How can I put this...well, he’s certainly someone I will never forget.
The promotional material sent to the Journal prior to the gig described him as “unique” and I’d agree. He was so unique, the audience didn’t know how to react.
Far from producing lengthy tales full of witty one-liners, his 10 minutes on stage passed by in a blur of bizarre gags using every prop known to man, most of them home-made. These were interspersed every 30 seconds or so with him pulling out a rubber cockrel, sex toy and other items rhyming with ‘tock’ and shouting: “Look, I’ve got my c**k out!”
When Spiky Mike introduced the next comedian, Patrick Draper, as another new guy on the scene, I wondered whether to make a run for it – there’s only so much ‘cringe’ I can take...especially when I saw he, too, would be using props.
But I’m glad we stayed as he was fantastic. His dead pan delivery was spot on and he even had us all singing along to nursery rhymes, the words replaced with dark lyrics from heavy metal songs.
Last but not least was the second headline act of the night, cockney Jeff Innocent. He’s well-known on the circuit but is also an actor, most recently on ‘Call the Midwife’. Taking full advantage of the fact he looks dodgy – his words, not mine – his act revolved largely around his bouncer-like appearance, wittily relaying airport searches and the countless times he’s been stopped by police. He had the entire audience in stitches, particularly when he began grilling a couple in their 60s sitting directly in front of us about their sex life.
In all, it was a brilliant night. It was our second time in a Funhouse gig audience – the first was a couple of years ago, when the now closed Atrium pub was the venue. It was a smaller venue with fewer seats but a great atmosphere. I have to admit, the atmosphere wasn’t quite the same in the Guildhall ballroom – and we were packed in like sardines.
** The next show at the Guildhall is on Thursday, February 25. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.funhousecomedy.co.uk