"Buying a swimming pool if you can't swim? It's like Ann Widdecombe buying condoms."
Another quality night at the North's best comedy club, and first onto the stage was Geordie comic Paul Fury.
Pretty much all Paul's set primarily consisted of wank jokes. Er, that is, jokes about wanking, not poor quality jokes. There were some good lines in there, and good use of a torch as a prop, but at the end of the day, wanking jokes are hack and clichéd. Oh, and blow jobs and sheep shagging as well. However, most crowds seem to go for it, but for someone who goes to comedy every week it's tired.
He's definitely got potential, and good stage presence but should write some more original material.
Next onto the Malarkey stage, making her Malarkey debut was Vicki Bell.
Vicki's character was a nervous, paranoid one, which seems to be based on the fact that she does actually suffer from nerves on stage. Which is sort of a good and bad thing, bad due to forgetting or fluffing the odd punchline but good because some of the gags were great ("I get paranoid about people laughing at me - seems like that's clearing up at the moment, though.") Good bottle-in-brown-paper-bag prop as well, a brilliant get-out line in case things go wrong.
Vicki was clearly nervous and didn't think she had a good gig so it would be good to see her gig in more comfortable surroundings. The crowd were very supportive though, so I don't think things were as bad as she thought.
Next up was Rob Riley, a last minute replacement for Mike Lee who didn't show up. And it probably worked out for the best as he had an outstanding gig.
I've seen Rob a couple of times before, at both XS Malarkey and The Comedy Balloon, and his overall act has got better and better. There was quite a bit of current affairs and topical material, and some very good punchlines in there. The delivery and timing were spot on as well, which helped the impact of the gags a lot. Great stuff, and can't really be faulted on anything.
Mike Tombs was first on out of the two headliners.
Mike was probably the best act on the night with some fantastic material, with some great observations and slants on life in general: "Moths are attracted to light, but why do you never see them in the daytime? If only they'd got up earlier and got their arses in gear..."
Great delivery and material from a seasoned veteran, and a dab hand at the old audience banter, too. Top stuff indeed.
Final act of the night was award-winning camp surrealist Paul Foot.
Paul's set took the form of a lecture on crime, rather than his normal stand-up routine, and featured props in the form of cards which he held up whilst, rather bravely I thought, standing on an upturned beer crate so everyone at the back could see.
Paul's style was a bit like Julian Clary, but not quite as camp, with some clever lines and audience banter. It was an interesting set in that it was quite different from more conventional stand-up, with nice use of props.
The only real minus point was that Paul didn't lay into people who were chatting as much as he could have done (the people in question were only about ten feet away). Although there were a few classic putdowns delivered in an effortless style: "Are you alright, darling, or are you mentally ill?"
A good set but at least two people have said to me that Paul's regular set is much better, so hopefully I will see that at some point.
A good night, altogether. See you next week.