REVIEW: Live at The Brighton Dome, 14/12/2019

Comedians bring well needed laughter and enthusiasm to The Brighton Dome

So, it’s two days after the general election. You’re going to see a group of talented comedians. What do you expect? That’s right, some political comedy, it’s inevitable. Most people would put two and two together and get four. However, some of the audience decided they’d get five. This is something I did not anticipate.   

The first half of the show was fantastic. Angela Barnes was an amazing host, living in Brighton herself she really knew how to work the audience in her favour. She was lively, enthusiastic and all her jokes landed. There was not a moment of dead air during her set, either we were laughing, or she was talking.

Her first guest was Shappi Khorsandi. You may know Shappi from her work on TV or you may know her for washing Stanley Johnson’s underpants on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. I’ve watched some of Shappi Khorsandi’s performances before, she seems to stick to the themes of her family and her heritage. This performance was no different. She joked about her children and her love life a lot, receiving quite a few laughs. But overall her performance felt a little bit scatty. She would start one story and interrupt it to tell us that Russell Brand had once asked her and a friend for a threesome in the 90s. The interruptions just didn’t feel worth it for the end punchlines. This is a shame, as Shappi Khorsandi has made me laugh to the point of crying before and I was looking forward to her set.  

After the first interval, the “hidden” gem of the entire night, I use the word hidden loosely. I had not encountered his stand-up before this night. Fin Taylor walked onto the stage, I vaguely recognised him as he had made some TV appearances before. He was possibly the funniest person of the night, as I didn’t stop laughing. His jokes landed again and again, he felt determined. It was just a shame that he had what felt like the least time on stage.

Simon Munnery then appeared bearing a harmonica and some tunes about Sainsbury’s. His comedy felt different to the rest of the acts, he was telling jokes that had punchlines. They were quick and blunt, but his set was packed to the brim with them. Although this may not be my preferred style of comedy it was still entertaining and funny to watch. He also managed to sell his book How to Live during the next interval. 

The stage lights started back up again and Angela Barnes’ voice echoed throughout the venue, introducing the headliner act, Nish Kumar. This is where the political comedy really shone through. As you may know Nish Kumar is a political comedian who’s hosting for The Mash Report and appearances on Mock the Week and (my personal favourite) Taskmaster, are widely appreciated and loved. Nish’s set started off great, he delved into a recent event in his life: the bread roll incident. He jokes and reflects on his attempt to make the attendees at a cricket charity lunch chuckle. He laughed about how it made the news and told us what happened, even referring to himself as ‘the Bob Dylan of yeast’. Nish continued to do what he does best, joke about the recent events in politics.  

He paused for a moment to lecture us on how we needed to look after each other in times like these. Then swiftly continued to joke about the election. This seemed to have flipped a switch in a couple people in the audience: audience member in the back rowperson in the front row and angry drunk person in the middle. The Audience member in the back row heckled him telling him ‘to tell jokes’. Nish soon enough shut him down and gets the response ‘bread roll’ thrown back at him. Person in the front row hears this and decides to ask Nish to ‘stop talking about politics I’m bored’. They’re met with an exclamation of ‘I’M A POLITICAL COMEDIAN’. At this point angry drunk person in the middle pipes up, clearly drunk and just irritated they accuse Nish of degrading minorities. At this point Nish looks defeated and confused, the rest of the audience are booing the hecklers, and this is where he has drawn the line.  

He finishes his set and walks off, narrowly misses the standing ovation that the audience and receives a hug from Angela Barnes who then proceeds to wrap up the show. What I want to make clear, for the narrow chance that Nish Kumar may be reading this, is that just because three people tried to drag your set down, the other 98% of the audience had an amazing time. There are many people who appreciate and love Nish Kumar’s comedy. That will not be ruined or overshadowed by a heckler who can’t even throw a real bread roll, but instead resorts to putting the idea of a thrown bread roll into the world.  

The Verse Staff

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