Review | Bristol Comedy Garden 2014

Review | Bristol Comedy Garden 2014

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Out was the big top circus tent of previous years and in was Magners as the primary sponsor of this years Bristol Comedy Garden. Queen Square was taken over with a number of food stalls, bars, bandstands and a star studded line of of comedians. Comedy Garden1

Opening night saw a few teething problems in the form of a temporary lack of electricity, and other nights were affected by a weird alcohol licensing laws but luckily there were no real issues when I attended on Thurs night, headlined by QI regular and loud ‘Merican Rich Hall.

Compere John Robins kicked things off, and then stopped, and kicked things off again when it was revealed half the tent couldn't hear. Robins inadvertently acted as some kind of comedy enabler for the audience who seemed to formulate their own (really quite funny) jokes.

Robins attempt to banter about audience members jobs was not quite what he had in mind with a string of highly regarded NHS jobs and a marketing officer providing little chance to poke fun. This is the second year that I've seen Robins as a compere and I'd go out my way to see a full show (If he had one...)

Sara Pascoe was surprisingly funny. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’ve always found her ‘amusing’ on panel shows and the like, but a solo gig gave her the time needed to build rappor that really allows the audience to see her at her best: putting forward a strong argument for opening a sanctuary for defunct Page 3 girls.

Rob Beckett, self confessed “grown up toddler” and my favourite act of the evening is really hitting his stride with some finely honed material based around class and his girlfriends rather more culturally aware family. Best of the bunch was his observation about Paella. Paella is just “busy rice” like a “special fried rice that’s got well out of hand”.

Then after 3 acts and 2 intervals to top up on cider came Rich Hall, abrasive and ranty in a way that only an American could pull off. Having acquired a guitar he treated the audience to an impromptu song about an unfortunate sunglasses salesman he had picked out from the audience. Poor sunglasses guy.

Despite a few teething problems, Comedy Garden is still one of my favourite events of the year, bringing amazing acts right into the heart of central Bristol. In years to come I'd like to see the festival extend to offer smaller tents for further performances from local acts and to keep on attracting the best acts from around the country. Same time next year?

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