The 100 Club in London is normally synonymous with jazz, blues and late night chitchat with cigars and a bourbon.
However, with such well respected comedians as Nick Doody, Will Smith (the British one) and Armando Iannucci, you get the feeling that something else is afoot. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Hailing from the good ol’ US of America, and starring in such renowned comedy shows as Mr Show, Arrested Development and the Colbert Report, David Cross has grabbed some of his friends from the US and brought them to the UK for 10 days of comedy entertainment. And entertainment it certainly was.
Cross, well known for his satirical and political brand of comedy, effectively takes the role of comedy host, placing a more observational stand-up routine between the other acts which, whilst a departure from his more poignant and hard hitting stand up (his routines this time round feature stories about his dog, heroin users and an elephant with a bladder issue), the audience still lapped up.
As for his friends, we were treated to a mixed bag of American talent in the form of Todd Barry, Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman, as well as dry wit from a mister Jimmy Carr, who was tonight’s British comedy guest. Although unheard of by myself, the American guests faired well with the British audience. Todd Barry’s dry wit and sarcasm was met with appreciation, as was quirky Kristen Schaal’s surrealist whimsy about her suicidal caterpillar friend. Kristen, who although entertaining, ended up having to rely on a pre-recorded spiel about not being able to sing, and a spoof video of a 24-esque cop show Penelope Princess Of Pets for her bigger laughs of the evening.
Following these came Jimmy Carr, who split the room (mainly into people who think jokes about the disabled are funny and Americans) with his often overly offensive one liners, all of which were read from a Denis Norden-style clipboard. Probably the most confident performer on the night apart from David Cross, he was very well received by the audience, although Carr was obviously trying out a few new gags on the audience, as some were met by stony-faced murmurs rather than laughter.
David’s final friend on the night was Eugene Mirman who, once again, was well received by the audience. A competent stand up, Mirman held the crowd with his routine including clips of him winding up religious phone callers and a video about The Adventures of the Insane High Detective, another self-made video, which, while funny, made me question the entry fee for what was essentially a myspace’s greatest hits compendium.
However, it was an entertaining show, and the acts seemed nervous about performing material that is well-known in the US to an untested British crowd. It’s a show that has legs, and I reckon that with a few more locally-based observations and gags, by the second week of the run, this show could be the really lovely night out it advertises itself to be.