Thursday night at Bristol Comedy Garden’s Apple Top featured a deliriously good mix of comedians all under one roof.
At first, I had no idea what John Kearns was going to do. The shtick of a sad clown, in buck teeth and a joke-shop wig, struggling to connect with an audience was totally original. The twice Perrier Award winner and star of new BBC show Top Coppers was original in his approach to off-the-cuff humour and audience interaction, making for an unpredictably enjoyable set.
Through his character we get hints of his life with the odd gag, a frustration with a flatmate, or a faint childhood memory. He brought laughs at different points, making us uncomfortable with scant material and brash attempts at macho humour. This is all clearly part of his act. His parody of a desperate comedian, fretting and strutting his time on the stage, is shrewd.
Bridget Christie opened her set with a brisk, razor-sharp rendition of the last week in politics that brought several applause breaks from the crowd. She is re-writing this part of her show every day, which came as no surprise. The startling events of Brexit became even more ludicrous when laid out in Christie’s incredulous style, both confident and humble. Her material focused on the broad failings of the right wing, whether it’s a Daily Mail gaffe of misprinting a picture of Christie as Charles II, or misleading voters into leaving the EU despite the dire consequences. Her approach is exhilarating in its pace and crystal-clear observation.
Christie’s ability to compare the ridiculous and the unfair is what makes her voice so compelling and necessary. Her first contrast was between David Cameron and an increase in UTIs, a stress-induced urinary infection caused by today’s instability in politics. Next, she compared Andrew Lloyd Webber to a monk in a wind tunnel. The pace of her jokes and variety of her material made the performance exhilarating.
Christie’s quick delivery, political agility and culturally savvy approach make a vital contrast to comedy’s more prevalent one-liners. She is utterly engaging, and poignant in her anti-establishment critique. The highlight of her set was an uproarious rant on the EU at the end, commenting on the need for common sense, by impersonating a voter who eschewed numbers, words and logic in favour of a ‘gut feeling.’ Well, my gut feeling about Christie is that she is possibly the most excellent female comedian I’ve ever encountered.