Arriving under light, spitting rain, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Komedia’s weekly comedy night. My preconception was of a snug venue somewhere underground, with a slightly raised area in the corner covered by a spotlight. However, I was completely wrong. The ‘Main Space’ at Komedia is spacious and when I arrived with my friend, Bjorn, the room was already two-thirds full. An added bonus came in the form of a virtual all-you-can-eat buffet, supplied by the intoxicated middle-aged hen party on the table next to us. A good sign for a reviewer who is already a bottle of wine deep.
The host, Stephen Grant, confidently loosened up the crowd, which is nothing to be sniffed at. In Edinburgh I operated a compilation comedy showcase, and often found that the compere can make or break a show. Grant certainly achieved the former. There turned out to be a familiar face on the line-up whose name I had not recognised. The first act, Geoff Norcott, was someone who had played the showcase in Edinburgh. In Edinburgh, Norcott’s material had centred on his being a Brexit-voting, working-class comic in an incredibly middle-class, liberal industry. Therefore, I thought, Brighton represents for Norcott what Skegness is for Joe Lycett. Nevertheless, his set was incredibly well-received by the majority. Although a remark on women and domesticity – where the joke lay in the ignorance of the statement – evoked an angry response from someone in the crowd, who promptly walked into a pillar on their way out of the gig. However, the headliner was a personal favourite. Irish comic Ian Coppinger began his set by telling an inaudible joke with the mic pointed at his forehead, before readjusting the stand to match his short stature, remarking to the laughing audience that he was surprised a homophobic joke like that had worked in Brighton. This set the bar high, and Coppinger managed to keep it there for the remainder of his set.
Confidence is a huge part of stand-up comedy. Comedy crowds are often like circus lions, as they will quickly turn on and devour a performer that shows weakness. It was incredibly refreshing – after a summer of seeing people crumble in front of critical audiences – to see polished and naturally funny comedians performing to a receptive and suitably alcohol-soaked crowd. Save for the pillar incident, the sets went off without a hitch. Krater Comedy Club is a weekly event, taking place every Saturday. I would highly recommend going with friends, and getting involved with the audience interaction. There is a new line-up every week, and if the standard remains at the level of the show on the 5th, you’ll be guaranteed a fun night.