Csenge Krokovay reviews Bent Double at Brighton’s Komedia on the 7th May 2017.
It was the first time I had been to the exciting comedy show, Bent Double: the famous ‘gay friendly’ night held at Brighton Komedia. It certainly lived up to its promise; with the audience made up of young queers and old-timers we all grabbed a beer and sat with anticipation, ready for the show.
The whole experience was sharp and cripplingly funny – and relevant for all members of the queer community in 2017. Held in the centre of gay and sunny Brighton, there’s little more you could want from a great night, with big laughs next to our queer neighbours.
After we grabbed some food and a beer to enjoy during the show we were ushered to our seats to await the four amazing comedians. We were greeted with multi-coloured disco lights and our quick witted, cool presenter Jen Brister, who at once made us all feel at home with some funny lines about Brighton and a slightly less comfortable merciless interaction with the front row audience. “Oh! You’re called Jen as well, we could set up a band with you three; the Jen, Jen and Jenn… Hey’s”
Next up was the lovely Julie Japson from Dublin, a cheeky, perky comedian. She started with jokes about the good old topic: periods (“If men had periods there’d be no moon cup, there’d be a moon mug”) and she started gushing about how much she likes the underwear shop Bravissimo (“I went in there and the first thing they ask: ‘have your breasts been fitted?’ Well I said no, I’ve never been fitted, but I’ve had ‘em weighed.”) Finally, she went into some of her every day struggles that being a lesbian has to offer (“I was mistaken for a man in the ladies bathroom, I was offended! So I turned around and said no, I’m not a man… anymore.”) Julie was a great first act with her light humour, by the end of her set we were all in the mood, and proper excited for more outrageous humour.
After a quick break, more beer bought, and back in our seats, we were confronted once more by the badass Brister and her almost hysterical account on how it is to be a new mum with two kids. “I love them… but my life is ruined.” She introduces Act No. 2 and backs off stage. Desiree Burch steps on; she is a large black woman from America, who made a big impact with her jaw dropping humour and loud voice from the moment she stepped on stage. The first thing she says: “I’m American, and I am sorry. Saying this helps me fit in with English people better.” Then she says that she likes to be realistic about her weight: “I am a big woman, I’m not being hard on myself, I’m being accurate on myself”. From start to finish she had the audience on the edge of their seats thinking; this lady takes no prisoners.
After our second interval Jen’s back on stage, talking to the audience like we are close old friends at an over-40s convention. She talks about the social media culture and what she thinks about selfies, “Do you know what I’ve learnt from selfies? There is not a stick long enough.” She interacts with the front row again and finally introduces our last act: Alistair Barrie. Someone who strongly reminds me of a funny dad that’s been spending too much time on his political news feed, however, I felt that this evened the night out for those political headed individuals in the audience. He asks “Are you OK Brighton? [In this time of Brexit] Brighton is so achingly liberal.” He has a crude sense of humour which consists of telling us he is running out of the house away from his ovulating wife; jokes about Donald Trump (“America has managed to go; white, black, orange.”); pope jokes (“Every time I see the pope on the balcony I think, fuck me, a fiddler on the roof.”) My favourite was his joke about what French protests are like (spoken in a French accent): “WHAT DO WE WANT? Well, just a day off, really. WHEN DO WE WANT IT? Well, I’m not really sure, when is your diary free.”
All the acts were brilliant; I thought that they all represented a different corner of comedy, and because of that there was something for everyone. Julie Jackson was sweet and naughty – a great opener act; we had the sassy second act with Desiree Burch and finally the political side of comedy with Alistair Barrie. But it wouldn’t be half as good without the presenter Jen Brister to keep the audience fresh and giggling with her sharp and honest humour. It was one of the best comedy shows I’ve been to and would definitely recommend it to everyone, and I’ll definitely be going to the next one. It’s on every first Sunday of the month, so I hope to see you there at Komedia next time!