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Comedy@Chess: Stephen Grant

Comedy can be painful, if the comedians just aren't funny or if you spend the entire time waiting to be pounced on and having something about you mocked for two hours.

Comedy can be painful, if the comedians just aren't funny or if you spend the entire time waiting to be pounced on and having something about you mocked for two hours.

This is why I was nervous about going to Chesham United's Comedy@TheChess, a monthly evening where three comedians come and do stand up.

The event has a really good reputation in the town and I've heard nothing but positive remarks about it so I was looking forward to checking it out myself at the end of November, the final show of the year.

Headlining was Stephen Grant, who performs at the Edinburgh Festival and who had me almost weeping with laughter. He obviously had a pre-planned script but deviated from it so many times, showing a very quick brain that was able to make an instant witty comment about any situation thrown at him.

He engaged the audience but without them fearing they would be ripped to shreds if his eye turned to them, which in my opinion is the best way to do comedy.

Warming up for Stephen was Nathan Caton and Paul F Taylor and compering between the acts was Ivor Dembina.

Nathan was relatively new to the comedy circuit, having started in 2004 but he has already won awards and wrote and appeared in a one off show for Paramount Television.

He was not as fluid and adaptable as Stephen, understandably if he has not been doing it as long, but his set was very funny as well.

Much of his jokes are based on observations of life as a black man and how he fits between his parents' culture and his own and his impressions of his family members went down a treat.

I suppose there is always a least favourite and mine would have to be Paul F Taylor, but that does not mean he wasn't funny, I just didn't enjoy his brand of humour as much as I liked the other two.

What he was saying was funny but he seemed on the verge of anger and was quite aggressive in the way he delivered his lines.

However, different people have different things that make them laugh and it is good the organisers provided a mix of comedians. This should guarantee a good crowd and allows people like me to experience new things.

Surprise is often expressed at the quality and I think praise needs to go to the organisers for creating a strong, regular event that good acts want to come to.

There were about 100 people there when I went and the place had a lively buzz to it. It's nice to see it is not just pigeonholed into being a football ground and it's a top night out for £10.

Visit www.chesslive.org.uk for next year's shows.

 

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