REVIEW: Goths, lightsabers and a seal of approval

Danny’s Comedy Club, The Birch Hotel, Haywards Heath, Friday, August 30

If a packed room at The Birch Hotel is anything to go by, it seems that Danny’s Comedy Club has firmly established itself as a popular place for stand-up in Sussex.

The first act of the evening was West End singer Tania Rodd, who performed a exuberant and jazzy, number.

Afterwards, the evening’s first comedian, Eddie Twist, hit the stage with his cheerful and relatively inoffensive brand of comedy.

The Cornish funnyman talked about growing up a goth and being raised by devout Christian parents. This had the potential to be confrontational but Eddie approached the subject gently. He also had a unique angle, describing how his parents were vegetarian for religious reasons – something he found illogical. “If God didn’t want people to eat animals then why did he make them out of food?” he quipped.

John Pendal, who looks like a tough guy but describes himself as being like an excitable Jack Russell, got some very strong laughs. He wasn’t afraid to reveal embarrassing personal details and launched into a cringeworthy but hilarious story about an experience he had in a shower.

Danny Hoy was a stand-up who, as host Danny Kington put it, had the ability to turn a Christmas cracker joke into an art form. It was essentially a set of puns but every one got a huge laugh or, at least, a satisfying groan from the audience.

For example: he arrived onstage holding a toy seal. The seal had a sign that read: “Danny Hoy is quite good.” There was no explanation for a few minutes until he revealed that we’d seen his “seal of approval.”

American Jenn Belander didn’t fare as well but got a few laughs with jokes about internet dating and trying Marmite. It didn’t quite work, though, perhaps highlighting the difference between the English and American sense of humour.

After a short break, Tania Rodd returned followed by brash comedian Mark Cram.

Mark’s blokey style went down well as he told anecdotes about his family. His observations about his sexuality got a good response too, as he referred to himself as “heterosexually challenged” rather than “gay”.

Adrienne Coles probably had the rudest set of the evening, teasing men (and their girlfriends) in the front row and talking about her ex-lover’s toy lightsaber.

Finally, headliner Omar Hamdi got an excellent response with his observations about being Welsh-Egyptian and the problems facing modern day social cohesion. His outlook was fairly unique (minus a couple of unsurprising jabs at Ukip and The Daily Mail) and his tone was relentlessly positive, which clearly won him some new fans.

Omar also used the set to try out new material, amusingly taking out a list and noting down which jokes worked and which didn’t.

It was unpretentious and high energy fun, which effectively rounded off another successful night of comedy in Haywards Heath.

By Lawrence Smith