The Comedy Festival has come and gone for another year and for yet another April I've found myself swearing more frequently than usual. The anecdotal evidence is that the festival was a huge success: plenty of shows were selling out (including a healthy bunch of locals), long queues were sighted all around the Town Hall, and Trades Hall has made a welcome comeback to the Festival scene.
Though some might have devoted themselves to the 20-hour Comedy Lock-In, I was more than content with cracking the dozen (see right) and seeing some quality shows in the process. Working as a reviewer for the second year has been a great opportunity to study the art as well as the humour. When a comic gets up for their 50 minute set, there's a hell of a lot going on that's not immediately obvious. Keep an eye out for it.
The Festival awards were given out last Saturday, with the results available here, although strangely the Barry Award has been left out - it went to Demitri Martin.
But for those who just can't get enough competitive comedy, here are my festival top five, in rank order. I guess that makes these the Second Annual Ariontheweb Ill-Informed Comedy Punter Award:
1. Damian Callinan in Spaznuts. Callinan's show was a comedic and artistic tour-de-force. Cleverly written, brilliantly performed, infertility has never been funnier.
2. Wolfe Bowarte in LaLaLuna. A clever visual show with enough dreamy hyperreality to scare the kids.
3. Mark Watson: 50 Years Before Death and the Awful Prospect of Eternity. A deceptively simple show from an unassuming Welshman who will no doubt go on to big things.
4. Tim Minchin. A supurb musical comedian doing what he does best. Bad taste lyrics, brilliant musicianship, and a sense of style that leaves you gasping for more.
5. Sam Simmons in Tales from the Erotic Cat. Not brilliantly funny, but a perfomer who is prepared to take risks and try new things. Can generate laughs just by looking at him.
Anyone else care to share their favourites?