Once a month (except in the Summer) Travestees Comedy Club (http://travestees.com/) host an evening of comedy at the Tor Leisure Centre. In the past the club has seen the likes of now-esteemed comedians such as Russell Howard, Tim Vine, Milton Jones and, one of my favourites, Henning Wehn. And many of the up-and-coming comedians I’ve seen deserve a bright future, others… not so much. To find out what I thought of last Wednesday’s (12th of September) evening and to see our ‘exclusive’ interview with comedian Joey Page continue reading.
A word of warning before you read the interview, neither me, nor Will, nor our interviewee knew it would happen, Kev, who runs the newspaper club, happened to be attending and asked us if we were interested. It was all very unplanned as you’ll see, in fact the most discussed topic was the interview itself.
Joey Page: If you wanna know anything and you’d rather email it then you can do that, I don’t mind if I give you my email or whatever, but he just said that you guys wanted to do, like, he didn’t really make it that clear, I don’t know if you wanted advice or if you wanted an interview or what you wanted, I don’t mind. If you don’t want anything that’s fine.
Will: Are those actually your jokes written on your hand?
JP: Yeah. I’ve gotta remember ’em somehow.
Jim: One thing we thought, in order to keep conversation going would be to ask random questions that are completely unrelated.
JP: You can do that.
Jim: What was your favourite pet? Actually, come to think of it that was in your routine. What’s your mother’s maiden name?
JP:Er… [Says mother’s maiden name] Are you trying to get into my bank account? [Smiles]
Jim: Will, ask a question.
Will: Ok, erm…
Jim: I can’t believe you’re texting in the middle of the interview.
Will: I’m not texting I’m sending the other comedian the tweet. (The compère for the evening, Matt Richardson, asked members of the audience to tweet him random made-up facts about the Glastonbury Tor)
JP: It’s not exactly an interview, is it?
Jim: Fair enough.
Will: How did you get into it?
JP: I got really bored at my Uni so I just started doing gigs and then seven years later I’m still somehow doing it, I still have a bit of a part-time job, I do this most of the time so I’m getting there. Everyone says it takes like ten years to do it full time but then I meet someone like Matt [Richardson], and there’s very few clubs where they wouldn’t pick someone like Matt but they would only pick me, there’s a couple of weird clubs. Normally they’re like ‘Ooo, we don’t want to take a chance on someone like that’. I’m not certain of everything he said here, the noises in the room grew louder.
Will: Which comedians do you absolutely hate?
JP: [Laughs] Er… All the ones that you would expect me to hate I would say, like erm… Hate is a strong word, it’s just I only really like people that I think are original, do you know what I mean? I only really like about ten comedians. Someone like Jimmy Carr I can see why he’s got where he’s got, like the technique he uses is brilliant and that’s why he’s the top of those types of comedians, but I only like a certain kind like Ross Noble, Harry Hill, Noel Fielding and it’s tricky. Then there’s newer ones like Tony Law, Josie Long, people like that. Yeah, I could probably say about twenty comedians I like and the rest I’d just go “Yeah, they’re alright”.
Jim: I’ve often imagined what I’d do if I wasn’t too scared to perform in front of an audience
Unfortunately part of the interview didn’t record so we didn’t catch Joey talking about how, with the rise of the internet, you don’t even need to worry about performing for an audience any more to get popular; you can just film yourself and become an overnight sensation. He also started talking about other things he’s done on TV like Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.
JP: I did a bit of behind-the-scenes DVD stuff for Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy and I should be involved with the next series of that and I did some stand-up on BBC 3 last week, well it was in Edinburgh but it was on telly last week. [Unruly pub hooligan roar and a few seconds of the interview are missed] If you’ve got any more questions, guys, if you think of anything else you wanna know you can email me. After all, this has been sprung on all three of us.
Jim: [Laughs] Yeah. I wonder if he’ll [Kev] will make it a monthly thing. Well, I suppose we could prepare something.
JP: Why would you want to come on a night out and have to do work?
The quality of comedians at the club vary immensely, from the enigmatic McNeil and Pamphilon (pictured above) and the intelligent improvisation of the recurring compére John Robins (below) to the awful spew of genitalia jokes from the crude Dana Alexander. Every time she seemed to be onto something funny she’d spoil it with rude imagery or an unfunny racial stereotype joke. Unfortunately for me, overwhelming crudity seems to be a trend at the club, many of the comedians base large parts of their routine on being controversial or vulgar. I realise that there’s a place for crudity, the Inbetweeners does it well, but while that uses vulgarity to emphasise the stupidity of its characters many comedians rely on it to create humour. Perhaps I’m just a pretentious prude, the other people in the club (who may or may not have been drunk) always seem to like it.
Wednesday’s evening, fortunately for me, wasn’t as full of lewdness as these nights sometimes are. Overall the night, featuring Matt Richardson, Patrick Morris, Joey Page and Gordon Southern, was a success and worth the £9 entry fee (though having said that it is my Mum that gives me the money. Isn’t living at home great?).
Compére Matt Richardson must have had the hardest job, whilst some jokes are planned the majority of a compére’s routine revolves around banter with the audience, he did well, coming up with witty remarks on the fly. His casual and friendly methods of involving the audience gave the room a cheerful atmosphere. He even asked audience members to send him joke facts about Glastonbury Tor over Twitter in the interval. This was perfect for anti-socialites like us, as much as we like to make people think we’re funny we’d rather not have all the eyes of a (partially drunken) crowd upon us. The Millfield ‘lads’ frequently sat at the front of the crowd make for regular targets and tonight was no exception. All four comedians picked on them for their supposed mass of wealth and ignorance to the rest of the world, the comics enjoyed it, the lads enjoyed it and, most importantly, the audience enjoyed it. For a town in the South-West of England Glastonbury has a surprising dislike for the private school system.
It’s refreshing to see a young person who realises the stupidity of their own generation, as Patrick Morris does, his assessment of the terms ‘legend’ and ‘mental’ being particularly good. “My idea of getting ‘f**king mental’ is not clicking ‘Safely Remove’ when I take out my USB” he says. As a disconnected youth myself I can relate. Unfortunately when he drifts away from this topic the humour can dwindle. I didn’t like his ruder jokes about pornography and penis enlargement, but as I’ve said, I’m probably not a normal teenager. Most of you, I’m sure, will thoroughly enjoy him.
It’s no surprise that Joey Page (interviewed above) is a fan of Noel Fielding, he’s eccentric and this is reflected in his routine, his smart clothing juxtapositions nicely with wacky stories about hand theatre and conversations about arts and crafts with London chavs. Not everyone will like it, but I found most of his oddball act great (and I’m not just saying that because we interviewed him). After Richardson Page had the strongest act, being consistently funny without drifting too much.
Headline act Gordon Southern’s routine suffered from similar problems to Morris’s, it was mostly fine but too often relied upon the audience’s enjoyment of naughtiness. Also his jokes sometimes retreaded old ground, making predictable jokes about responsible drinking and binging. “What’s that? Drink and be responsible? No, I can’t do both. This person won’t become attractive on their own, look.” He was OK, and that’s about all there is to say.
If you fancy a fun evening out go along to Tor Leisure centre on Wednesday the 10th of October. Doors open at 7:30 with the show starting at 8:00. Visit the Travestees website (http://travestees.com/) for more information.