"That's when I fell for the paedo in the mac..."

The Bootleg Mark ChapmansAnother busy night (sold out again) at the Malarkey, and first up onto the stage wasmusical duo The Bootleg Mark Chapmans.

Lee says: The night kicked off with a welcome return for The Bootleg Mark Chapmans,with their brand of self-deprecation and spoof pop. They'd upped the tempo from the lastperformance and the timing was clearly an improvement. Good delivery of what is mostly verystrange material, and The Paedo in the Mac tune brought the house down. Their set openedthe night nicely and woke up a slightly subdued audience.

Spider says: There were amusing songs and quips in a Half Man Half Biscuit style(the name of the act is taken from one of their songs, no less), with some songs being betterthan others, but the highlight being the superb The Paedo in the Mac. Onesmall criticism - I know the singing isn't meant to be good, but if Tony can tightenup his timing it would help the delivery a lot.

Ken BulgerLiverpool posh-lad Ken Bulger was second on.

Lee says: Ken Bulger was second up with his slightly psycho line in observationalcomedy. A comic with nothing out of the ordinary in terms of material, but there issomething wonderfully sinister that sets him apart from the rest of the pack.

Spider says: Ken is rapdily making a name for himself on the local circuit, and thisgig certainly did his reputation no harm. He did an extended 20 minute set, with his viewson Scouser scally girls, beggars and Americans, amongst other things. There was somegood material there and he seems to have chosen a good style of delivery - deadpanbut vitriolic. A comic who'll be main support before long I think.

Phil RomanPhil Roman was the final comic before the break.

Lee says: Third onto the sky blue stage was Phil Roman who opened with a twominute nose pick. I immediately thought, why? An almost painful opening that did nothingbut sabotage his chances for the rest of the set, which consisted mainly of bad puns andsome predictable gags. The structure was there, but the material needs a lot of work.

Spider says: I would have thought Phil had learned about the 'bogey' materialfrom last time - doesn't really work and it doesn't go anywhere. The set consisted ofsome pretty awful gags (one or two worked, though). I've seen Phil do a character -Professor Phil Roman - at the Comedy Balloon which worked much better. Why not try thisout instead? Funniest moment of the night was when an audience member at the bar remarkedthat he looked like a geography teacher.

Jason CookeMalarkey veteran and all-round good eggJason Cooke was main support of the night.

Lee says: The inimatable Jason 'Entertainment' Cooke wasn't pissed for once, which meant, for themost part, the calamity element of the Cookemeister was not in attendence. This was a welldelivered act, with plenty of spontaneity. The running 'blues' gag pinned the routine togethernicely, and set the crowd up for some of Jasey's big hitters. The ever expanding animal porncollection got a fantastic reception as did the Jeremy song which rounded off one of the bestperfomances I've seen from Mr Entertainment. I just wish he wouldn't snort rum...

Spider says: The best ever set I've seen from Jason and I chose that night to forget topress fucking record on the cock-bastarding minidisc! Twatting hell! I only hope he does anotherset sober because he was on fire. The animal porn never seems to become tired (probably becauseJason has a new addition every time), and the little musical asides worked a treat. Good work,son.

Natalie HaynesHeadliner of the night was NatalieHaynes.

Spider says: Natalie Haynes' delivery is so fast - to the point of being hyperactive -that you're in real danger of losing the thread if you've had a few pints. But I supposethis adds to the charm and character of Natalie - hyped up, slightly psychotic, with atwisted streak. Anecdotes, asides, and more than capable of taking on the audience, shegot a well-deserved encore from the crowd where she endeared herself to me by praisingMalarkey's over certain other comedy clubs in the area. *blush*

A good night at XS Malarkey, for the most part.

Lee and Spider.