Laughter is the greatest medicine and I crave laughter like an addict craves their ‘fix’. To me the greatest emotion that we could ever have is knowing the joy of what it feels like to laugh, to share that connection with a room of strangers, united by their love of ‘laughter’. Its a truly magical emotion and no matter how bad my day is, a bout of much needed laughter is the antidote that I seek and crave.When I am down I watch comedy; from sitcoms to British comedy shows right through to stand up, the power of being able to laugh when you are feeling sad may not be the answer to all your problems but it is a temporary emotion that can make you feel a little more ‘normal’ again. If I had to pick my top five comedians it would be Russell Howard, Keith Lemon, Jack Whitehall, Chris Ramsay and Micheal Macintire, who never fail to tickle my pickle. I have a very select sense of humor and it might surprise you to know that ‘crude’ or rude jokes make me laugh the most. I can’t seem to help it, at heart I am an old soul wise beyond my years yet when it comes to jokes I regress into a ’12 year old’ snickering at ‘naughty words’. But I am not the only one, comedians can make even the most ‘prude’ snort with laughter, tears streaming down their face. I have attended countless comedy gigs across the country but had never managed to see Chris Ramsay live, a favourite Northern comedian of mine whose jokes drawing on ‘real life experiences’ make him all the more relatable. When Swift Cover offered me the chance to see Chris Ramsay and two other stand up comics live at The Hippodrome, complete with free drinks and a goody bag there was only one answer and that answer was a resounding yes!
I was able to take a plus one and Christy from ‘Xtine Loves’ accompanied me on my comedic journey; having had a rough day I was unsure as to whether I could enjoy the gig but like I said laughter really is the best medicine. As we we entered the Hippodrome we went through to the lounge and met the Swift Cover team who had organized the ‘free gig’ to celebrate 25 years of car insurance. We were offered free cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery which were equisitely baked bites of creamy deliciousness. The buttercream icing complimented the moistness of the sponge which was soft to the touch while Christy ( who is allergic to nuts) had a sweet bouquet full of sherbet UFO’s, millions and more. As we sank gratefully into our seats and sipped on our complimentary drinks the events of the day had unfolded and I felt a little deflated, a combination of extreme exhaustion and sickness probably didn’t help but it soon disappated. I wasn’t expecting to see any bloggers at the event that I knew but out of the corner of my eye I saw Laura from ‘Laura Loves’ and made a beeline. Accompanied by her lovely friend Roxxy, both Laura and Roxxy were so nice and welcomed me and Christy into the fold. Laura gave me blogging advice and gave me praise that warmed my heart; Laura was a proper Northern lass and a lovely one at that. Unfortunately Christy had to leave about 15 minutes into the comedy set due to personal issues but luckily I had Laura and Roxxy to keep me company. Hosted by the brilliantly funny Steve Hall’ who writes Good News with Russell Howard, he had us all in stitches within seconds. I had never heard of him prior to the gig but having supported Russell Howard its clear that he shares Howard’s talent for creating stories woven in an endearing patchwork of jokes. From his references to his daughter Polly and his wife being ‘ruined’ to his attempts to surprise his father with a painting of his favourite photo which went horribly wrong -more on that later- Hall was a surprise hit. Hall who was a sweet man at heart spoke lovingly about his dad, who had a series of live altering operations and despite his comedic sensibilities it was clear that deep within the jokes was a message to appreciate your loved ones and be there for them no matter what. It was a powerful sentiment to make and it made me warm to Hall even more. I have to say my favourite joke had to be when he spoke about his dad being ill in hospital and having taken a photo with his son and Kermit(!) The Frog in a black and white still, Hall thought it would be a good idea to commission a painting as a get well present for his dad. Of course knowing how atrocious the last painting that Hall commissioned at £305 – admittedly he was drunk- made his daughter look like Winston Churchill so I did not have high hopes for this next painting. We were all flabbergasted, since when did Kermit The Frog look like a predator with his creepy ass hand, his dad look like Sir Paul Mccartney and Hall look like the freaky kid from the Omen? What had once been a beautiful memory that they shared together had now turned into a ‘shit show’ and apparently his mum cried for hours. When she calmed down she had replied ‘ well at least the cardigan is nice’ which I guess is a positive. Hall’s ability to turn a negative into a positive confounded me and as we wiped tears from our faces the next act AHir Shah otherwise known as ‘shit shag’ took to the stage. Critically acclaimed on the ‘Edinburgh Fringe Circuit’ Shah revealed that his I-Phone took to giving him a nickname everytime he wrote his name, where Shah became ‘shag’ and Ahir became ‘shit’ thus ‘shit shag’. He revealed that he text a landlord stating about rent before signing off as your ‘shit shag’ which was pretty funny. Admittedly Shah’s set was slow at first but about 10 minutes in the jokes came rolling and his riff about using chocolate flavoured condoms and them being the same colour as his ‘dick’ did make me laugh.
Hall came again and announced that we had a 15 minute interval, which me and Laura spent chatting as the bar was manic. When Hall came back on stage he laughed and told us in more or less words that we were pissheads because the ‘free bar had been drunk dry’, I think some were more pleased than others. Once again Hall showered us with tales about his family , before passing the baton to Chris Ramsay, who he described as being one of the most hardworking comedians and said that ‘success couldn’t have happened to a nicer man’ which I thought was so sweet. Ramsay swaggered onto stage with the confidence of a polished performer and boy was he polished. Seeing him in concert on Youtube had nothing on the real life experience, he was magnetic and possessed infectious energy that made us all feel alive. Originally from South Shields, the Northerner somehow made his wife’s C-section birth and prostate exams funny ( Don’t ask me how that is possible!) . He described how he had gone to his GP and was quite unprepared for his ‘prostate exam’, after feeling his GP’s finger twist inside his a-hole. As he winced in pain his GP told him that ‘one lubricated finger would be coming his way’ which of course made us laugh, especially when Ramsay had stated that his doctor had said to him the ‘most romantic thing he had ever heard’. I mean lets get real, if that is classed as romantic then I don’t want to know what would be classed as unsentimental in his eyes. I shouldn’t be surprised considering the way he described the mother of his child’s birth. As Hall closed the night and thanked us for coming I breathed out a sigh of relief, all the stresses had disappeared and I felt happier than I had pre-gig. It was a beautiful night and I am so thankful to Swift Cover for organizing an amazing night that I will never forget. Now I have one special request, can someone please get Jack Whitehall and Russell Howard on the same show pretty please, they are my absolute favorites and I feel that each others wackiness would compliment each other well. Plus its my birthday in just over a month (27th September) just saying!
Have You Been To A Stand Up Gig Before?