"Save your pity, I used to hit her all the time."
First up tonight was scouse comic Jamie Sutherland.
Jamie started with a tale he's used before, the one about being carded off at Beat The Frog at the Frog & Bucket after only 35 seconds. He followed it up with a story about the roughest gig he's ever done in which windows went through (and if it's the gig I think it is, the story is true!) After that came some more tried and tested material. The main improvement in this gig was Jamie's confidence which helped the delivery a lot. In fact, probably the best gig I've seen him do, delivery- and stage presence-wise. A few punchlines need to be a bit stronger but on the whole, a decent enough start to the night.
Second on to the stage, looking rather fetching in huge fur coat (I tried it on later, it's rather comfortable) was Bethany.
There was some classy material taking the piss out of Goths (including one great punchline which earned a smattering of applause from the crowd). Bethany last appeared at Malarkey's in 2003, after which she gave up comedy for a while and got back into it - and rightly so. The set was much more confident than the first time, with some good material, strong punchlines, and much improved delivery. A couple of bits of material was from the first time but it's been tidied up and improved. A good performance, enjoyed by the crowd.
The final act before the break was London comic Eric.
Eric has played XS a few times before and always manages to do fairly well, if not brilliantly. His material ranged from warning signs on cigarette packets (which has become dangerously hack these days) to his superstitious mother, and some particularly good material on second hand books and cards. A reasonable and fairly laid-back end to the first part of the night.
After the break came a last-minute extra addition to the show, Aussie comic Kieran Butler.
Kieran opened up with an "I've just been dumped by my girlfriend" feedline - to which I groaned with despair as every comic does it - but to his credit followed it up with a belter of a punchline. The next two topics were equally unoriginal (porn and Amsterdam) but again to his credit he had the material to get away with it. Superb delivery and stage presence, great timing, and the crowd loved it. Great stuff.
Main support of the night came in the form of Alex Lasarev.
Alex opened up with a noisy, cocky rant about how great America is, attempting to earn as much hatred from the crowd as possible - before revealing that he is in fact Canadian (which brought a cheer). His set was boisterous and energetic, with strong material and a bold stage presence. He certainly went down well with the crowd, and it brought the atmosphere up nicely for the headline act.
And the headliner of the night was a comic who has stormed it every time he's played at XS Malarkey, Rob Deering.
Tonight was no exception. Great comedy, including some political comedy that was actually funny (as opposed to being merely a rant), combined with some superb guitar-based humour (again, a lot of acts go wrong here - merely being wacky as opposed to geniunely amusing). Good stuff from the big man and a cracking end to the show.