Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the Liverpool Comedy Festival 2016 which runs from 16 Sept-2 Oct. I headed down to the Royal Court Theatre to find out what's on at the Fezzie, watch excerpts of the acts in 'The World's Smallest Theatre' and make full use of the photo booth area and accompanying props.
Stand-up comedy is very close to my heart, as back in the day I performed as part of the double act 'Penguin' with my friend Sarah. The act wasn't about penguins and made no reference to them whatsoever, plus neither of us look like a penguin, but it seemed a fitting title nonetheless. Penguin performed all over the North West, Wales, London and also managed to get to the Edinburgh Festival as part of Channel 4's 'So You Think You're Funny Competition'. I still have one of our hand-crafted business cards which we cut into the shape of a penguin, with glitter aplenty and silver writing. We may or may not have shoved loads of them surreptitiously into people's coats and bags at the SYTYF wrap party.
I'm not very funny any more so have taken a hiatus from the stage, but I love nothing more than watching other stand-up comedians and having a bloody good guffaw. I can appreciate more than most people the guts and/or stupidity it takes to get up and perform, never knowing quite how the audience will react. Unless you've gone on after the break when people are slightly more receptive because they're bladdered; first on is an absolute 'mare.
The launch night kicked off with a round of free wines and some mingling, before an introduction by Sam Avery, Artistic Director of the Liverpool Comedy Festival. From here we were invited to have a mooch about, watch some comedians and act the goat in the photo booth. Acting the goat in photo booths is something I am particularly good at, if I do say so myself.
There were also bowls of complimentary Scouse if you were feeling snacky. FYI non-Liverpudlians, it's not a bowl of mashed up Scousers and it's certainly not a bowl of Liverpool dialect. In fact, it's a stew of meats, potatoes and vegetables. The meat section of the recipe can be very loosely interpreted to include anything you damn well fancy.
By cleverly curtaining off a corner of the bar, The World's Smallest Theatre had been created. It was slightly bigger than a lift, but not as big as a caravan. Selected acts came on to deliver free samples of their material and we partook of some free giggles.