With the Edinburgh Festival beckoning us forth in a few months, it’s time for comedians to be quaking in their boots as they try out new material to mould together in to a show. This is good news for us comedy vultures as it means lots of low priced comedy evenings for us to feast over. Bank holiday Monday (traditionally a day of lying on the couch, eating biscuits and drinking vast amounts of tea) was different for me this year. Why? The answer is a simple one. The German comedy ambassador, Henning Wehn was back at the Betsey Trotwood, treating us (or subjecting us, depending on your viewpoint) to some new material. More than happy to be a guinea pig and being quite fond of the Betsey, I ordered two tickets and peeled myself from the couch and on to the metropolitan line.
What I love about evenings like this is that you get to experience comedians figuring things out; discovering what works and what doesn’t. It looks like there’s a lot more to this comedy lark than just a random stream of hilarious consciousness. Who’d have thought it? In Henning’s last show Eins, Zwei, DIY he chatted about London life, mortgages and debt. This time he’s tackling immigration and doing a great job of shining a hilarious light on perceptions, stereotypes and overall general nonsense.
I should make the point here that the Betsey is worth a trip on its own merits. A small pub with a laid back old school charm hosting regular comedy and music nights, it’s perfect for a chilled evening or laid back Sunday afternoon (of course it’s perfectly lovely any other day of the week as well).
There’s something very charming about a pub venue. It feels like this is the way comedy should be experienced; friends gathered together, climbing the rickety stairs to the upstairs room to hear strangers make us laugh whilst the buzz of the bar continues below. I’ll take that over a slick corporate wine bar any day of the week.
So, packed in to the upstairs room of the Betsey, standing on a small raised stage (I’m stretching the definition of stage here) Henning hit the right notes and had us laughing at society and ourselves. We also had an extra surprise for our money as Henning introduced Spencer Jones who arrived to round off the first half. Bizarre I think was my first thought and things just got stranger. If you haven’t seen Spencer he’s hard to categorise. A ‘mad manipulator of everyday items’ might intrigue you enough to check him out. Henning returned for the second half of the night, introducing and clapping himself on to the stage as we (quite surprisingly for Brits) clapped along with him. For new material everything seemed to roll off the tongue smoothly as he navigated through his prompt cards, along the way taking in the Brexit, British citizenship test and yes even, lactose intolerance. I mean really, what more could you want for a Bank Holiday Monday night?
For the drinks: The Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3BL / On the twitter / On the facebook