"Do you know why I stopped you sir?"
First up on Tuesday was the likable curtain haired comic Danny James.
Danny’s story telling got Tuesday off to great start. He confidently delivered some great material that, for the most part, was bang on target. There were the inevitable lows, but the highs far outweighed them.
And just to make sure, he threw in a fisting reference to suitably appal!
Next was the inimitable Mark Smart.
Jason 'Entertainment' Cooke's character just gets better and better.
The larger than life scally split the audience with his take on the Princess Diana tribute Candle in the Wind but reunited them again with his take on the Geri Halliwell hit Scream if you Wanna Go Faster, entitled Do You Wanna Go Halves on a Bastard? And of course, he performed it in his pants, again!
The Hawaiian shirt clad Russell Howard was next to mount the Malarkey milk crate.
The animated storyteller delivered a mesmerising and energetic performance. His material was class from start to finish, but what made him even better, is the way he engages the audience. Interaction and improvisation are definitely his strong points.
I’m looking forward to seeing more from Russell.
After the break, gangly Goran Ivanesivic look-a-like Dave Griffiths took to the Malarkey stage.
Dave’s performance was a bit hit and miss on Tuesday. I thought he deserved a better reception than he got but was never going to produce a stormer with the gags he had. And the self-deprecating jibes became more frequent as the gags fell flat.
Having said that, when the material hit home it really hit home. The ‘sleeping with a policewoman’ section was class.
The headliner on Tuesday was the much-hyped Shazia Mirza.
Shazia’s set is constructed almost entirely from the fact that she is Muslim, and the religion-based humour didn’t seem to connect with tribe Malarkey. She didn’t set herself up for a good performance though. The first thing she did when she got on the stage was to insult the venue. "I was on Have I got News for You, and now I’m at XS Malarkey."
The material was inconsistent with more gags falling flat that getting the desired reaction, and the crowd started to lose interest in the one themed performance. There were some fantastic moments in the set, just not enough.
From a delivery point of view, Shazia started out very deadpan, but couldn’t seem to hold it. And when she got the surprising encore, she admitted to being unable to control the crowd.
I think Shazia’s style and material definitely has potential, but as it stands, it would be better condensed to a fifteen minute support slot. With development and a bit diversity, it could live up to the hype.
Toby finished off the night by spending five minutes trying to destroy an LP from the big mouthed bigot Bernard Manning. I don’t think Toby reckoned on the LP such a tough nut to crack and managed to cut the bridge of his nose in the process. After trying to set fire to it with a lighter, he finally got the damn thing to shatter!
Comic of the night has to be Russell. Moment of the night, when the LP shattered and everyone went mad with elation!
See you next week.