Never Mind the Buzzfeed


Never Mind the Buzzfeed, last night at the Impro Theatre in North London, was my first ever spoken word event. Previously I’ve done acting, standup and current affairs comedy but only with sport for ‘They Think It’s All Over’ on Radio 4. This eclectic show, produced by Alison Kent, was somewhat different and featured a variety of different styles and performances, from impro to character acts, music to stand-up.

The model here was Paper Machette in Chicago, US, in which items from the previous week’s news were examined with a comic slant. Unlike standup there was no need for a laugh a minute, the ideas were key and it was possible to put together a deeper narrative. In addition, I could read off a piece of paper (hurrah!), although this did end up presenting something of a challenge on the night.

Here, then, in no particular order, are the other performers and my wholly subjective favourite bits of their shows:

Arfie the improvisor rather brilliantly made up a whole sequence about him being a hopeless Italian geologist trying to make excuses for the unpleasantness following the recent earthquakes over there.

My favourite bit:
This line: “I’m afraid that at some point in the future, there will be more earthquakes, so there’s something to look forward to if you like earthquakes.”

Bethany Sharp, actress and producer, spoke interestingly about refugees and empathy; however…

My favourite bit:
“I’m sorry, this lighting is awful and I can’t read my writing. I may return soon.”

To qualify that last part – it wasn’t that she left that made it my favourite part; rather the elegance with which she did it. Ahh, live theatre! x

Then there was music by Denis Fernando, who has the honour of being one of the drummers in the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony.

My favourite bit:
Hard to do this when you’re not actually listening to it but there was a lovely piece of piano at the higher end of the scale in one of the later instrumental pieces.

Bertholt Brecht then unexpectedly appeared, despite being dead, and did a passable impression of actor Matthew Jameson, who has lovely facial hair and warned us about cartoon frogs.

My favourite bit:
The intercom phone at the back of the room went at totally the wrong time. Talk about Brechtian alienation!

Then there was an interval, after which I went on.

Hard to say which was my favourite bit, although the intercom went off for me as well. It was probably the moment I eased out of default standup mode of not worrying if they laugh/like me mode and let the writing speak for itself.

I’ll post my piece later; it’s about booze, drugs and religion. Sweet!

Actor William Hastings then performed as the result of Britain’s first experiment with participatory democracy in a piece written by Matthew Jameson.

My favourite bit:
The ending, not because it was over but because by then I was genuinely worried about him.

Then Denis came on with more music.

My favourite bit:
I’m not getting on that stage again, it’s too dark. (Darkness was a recurring theme. Symbolic? Who can say…)

Finally, comedian Steve Allen rounded things off with four jokes embedded in a very fine stand-up sequence.

My favourite bit:
Actually, there were two.

One was when someone in the audience responded to a line about Northern violence with a Reggie Krayish ‘You’re in London now, son’ with: “Pah! You and your poncy knife crime. We use fists! Because we haven’t yet evolved tools.”

The second was a warning about the current clown epidemic: “Be careful if one leaps out of a bush at you because there are always more of them! They travel in packs…”

This was a good example of comedy being a source of learning, because I set fire to three bushes on the way home. It’s the only way to be sure.


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