It seems like my Christmas cup runneth over. With my Year of Comedy drawing to a close, I spotted one last stand-up night that looked like the perfect way to round off the year. For around the price of a medium glass of wine (bargain) I headed to Old Rope at The Phoenix on Cavendish Square.
Downstairs at the Phoenix is a cracking comedy venue; intimate yet decently sized, with the bar in near reach and varied seating so you don’t end up perched on the lap of the guy next to you.
Old Rope is organised and hosted by Tiff Stevenson (if you haven't seen her, check her out or have a gander at my Edinburgh post) and tonight, she’d gathered together the cream of the Christmas crop. Like the gift that just keeps on giving, familiar faces kept arriving on stage scattered with some charming new ones that I’ll be checking out next year.
Old Rope is a new material night, giving comedians the chance to see if their funnies really are funny and even when they're not, they kind of are. If you know what I mean. So, without pausing for breath we had, Aisling Bea - hilarious little trickster that she is, the domestic delights of Paul McCaffrey, the fabulous Sara Pascoe (that incest joke is a winner), the dark and disturbed Stuart Black, the fabulous octogenarian Lynn Ruth Miller, the brilliantly irascible Rich Hall, the angrily eloquent Fin Taylor, the deadpan hilarity of Phil Wang, the naturalism and dry wit of James Acaster, the spot on bridal bouquet comments of Eleanor Tiernan, a brief but fun episode with Alice Fraser and hilarity from Lou Sanders with a devilish glint in her eye. Plus, last but not least, Tiff Stevenson herself with her sharp, straight talking humour. You may now breathe and ponder such an excellent line-up.
Really it's unfair to try and sum up these comedians in just a few words as they were all top notch and deserving of far cleverer dissection. However, needs must, so if any of them appear on a bill near you, get out of your arm chair and get down to watch them. Also, hats off to Old Rope for having a more balanced male to female comedy ratio than lots of other comedy nights out there. Honestly, 'funny is funny' people (regardless of what's going on downstairs).
So, as of around 11.30pm on Monday night my year of comedy came to a close. It's been magnificent, providing both laughs galore and a sense of relief that regardless of how 2016 might seem, not everyone has lost their minds. Let’s see what 2017 will bring, but one thing’s for sure, I’m not going to get through the year without my regular comedy dosage. I don’t mind admitting, I’ve become a junkie for jokes. There, I said it.
Old Rope (Monday night comedy)
The social stuff: Tiff Stevenson / Aisling Bea / Paul McCaffrey / Sara Pascoe / Stuart Black / Lynn Ruth Miller / Rich Hall / Eleanor Tiernan / Lou Sanders / Phil Wang / Fin Taylor / James Acaster / Alice Fraser