Nish Kumar headed a strong line up for Brighton Festival comedy night

Live at the Dome continues to be the city’s biggest comedy night and the Brighton Festival iteration provided a roster of heavy-hitters and hot acts.
Chloe PettsChloe Petts
Chloe Petts

Obviously there will always be a place for much smaller mixed bill comedy nights, featuring seasoned MCs, and the odd bright young thing going down a storm on the socials, and of limitless hordes of unheralded tyro comics learning their trade,

The obvious advantage of Live at the Dome is the absence of the final category and the comforting lack of stinkers dying a unedifying, disappointing death on stage.

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Personal taste and petty dislikes aside, Live at the Dome goes beyond the old equations of a comedy night – “One was great, two were alright, one was awful”.

Nish KumarNish Kumar
Nish Kumar

Instead the line-up is hack-free and consists of four established circuit comics, generally all on an upward career trajectory.

Take the MC for the evening, the excellent Chloe Petts, who within hours of the show finishing was appearing on MOTDX (BBC’s 2 yoof offshoot of Match of the Day) with the One Show’s Jermaine Jenas, so things are clearly going well for the Kent comic.

She did a good job of hosting the event in the intimidating surroundings of a packed Friday night (May 18) Brighton Dome.

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Crowd work is never easy and it must be plenty harder doing it for @@@ people and having to repeat every front row utterance to the whole venue.

Thanyia MooreThanyia Moore
Thanyia Moore

But she was quick on her feet, made the best of a few comedy cul-de-sacs and riffed on all manner of discourse, including Disney, cultural appropriation.

The stand out stand-up, by a county mile, was the charismatic and cerebral John Robins.

"I’m going to tell about two ailments I had and then go home” isn’t your average opening salvo, but Robins is the head and shoulders above your average jobbing comic.

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Similarly, most stand-ups wouldn’t spend too much time talking about cancer scares but the savagely self-depreciating comic was at the top of his game, and crammed a lot of smart, introspective (but never self-indulgent) material into his half hour set.

He’s regularly turning out some great stuff on radio and podcasts, and surely someone should be able to harness that talent for television.

Likeable South-Londoner Thanyia Moore’s set wasn’t quite as agile, and despite possessing huge stage presence, her anecdote-based routine trundled on a little before a rowdier, physical, and well-received closing few minutes.

Lou Sanders was good value for her rather haphazard and rapid-fire, 30 minutes.

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Filthy chat-up lines (really filthy) sat well with criticism of ‘ugly’ rescue cats,.

Her immense charm, babbling delivery and lack of apparent formula, made the process seem less like a stand-up comic delivering her material, and more like listening to a slightly chaotic, but immensely fun friend.

Nish Kumar headlined the evening and upped the rage quota for the evening, railing against the current government with fury, volume and and plenty of effing and jeffing.

It’s perhaps debatable that Brighton is “to the left of Lenin”, but its fair to assume that a large percentage of the assembled throng agreed with his assessment of Farage’s leadership credentials and a good number might also have reacted in the same way in the company of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

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On the subject of Gary Lineker, he accused the Tories of “radicalising an ex-footballer and crisp salesman.” and explored his conflicted feelings toward supremely-successful British Asian Rishi Sunak.

Tickets are on sale for the next Live at the Dome on October 21 with Catherine Bohart, and Josh Pugh confirmed on the bill.

Nish Kumar, Lou Sanders, Chloe Petts, Thanyia Moore & John Robins