Venue Review: Comedy in the Basement

Comedy in the Basement
Comedy in the Basement - Top Level Venue for Laughs
Comedy in the Basement
Comedy in the Basement – Top Level Venue for Laughs

For many prospective stand-up comedians there are usually the first two obstacles to overcome: (1) finally being able to conquer the fears of getting up there and performing in front of an audience and (2) finding a damn place that will give a newbie a chance.

I was introduced to Comedy in the Basement by a strong recommendation and so I took myself up to Byres Road in Glasgow’s trendy West End. I admit, I hadn’t been up the West End for many years. As I walked up Byres Road I noticed not much had changed. It still reeked of freshly-made kebab and student failure.

The Basement is intriguing. First of all, I love the fact that a comedy venue is in a basement. Basements for me simulate dark hidden undergrowth dungeons where anything goes and anything is said. That, to me, is vital in the art of stand-up comedy. Basements are places the Political Correctness police can’t find that easily. For those with hard-hitting material (like me), I like to refer to us comedians as the seed planters and growers of freedom of speech. All we need is a dark basement, a wee spotlight and a lot of nurturing imagination.

For those who are not familiar with my TOP TEN LIST OF PEOPLE I’D REALLY LOVE TO SMACK I can only ever perform this piece of material in a basement because outwith a basement and on level to first floor I rarely get by Number 4  in my Top 1o list before a SWAT team descends on the premises.

Comedy in The Basement in Byres Road is run by Marta Adamowicz, a pretty Polish girl with a penchant for a laugh and taste for comedy value. Comedy in the Basement is for established as well as new acts.

My first experience in The Basement Bar was a pleasant one. The staff are extremely friendly and welcoming and the clientele an even mix, right  across the board.

Equally, the performers on this particular evening were a combination of various styles and wide assortment of material genres.

From Kirsty Morrison’s clever ‘letter’ piece to Allan Lindsay’s hilarious ‘taxi driver’; it brought about a very open and much-varied night of comedy entertainment.

Nancy Clench once again delivered a thorough and polished performance. Bill O’Neill keeps growing with confidence and getting better all the time and Sam McInnes stood tall (literally and metaphorically) with her admiring stance, well-liked personality and her interactive funny engaging with a responsive audience.

Gary Meikle tried out some new material that went down superbly well and showed all the qualities required to go the distance. Paul McDaniel’s brilliant Bob Dylan sketch was only superseded (in my opinion) by his take on football referees. An incredibly talented comedian.

Comedy in the Basement has everything you could ever ask for in a comedy venue. They welcome and give a chance to new starts to stand-up comedy to highlighting the more established and experienced acts. It just feels right ~ Stephen Hamilton

Frazer Letham provided the audience with his regular and ever-reliable self that comprised of self-assured and sturdy material that included his superb ‘change’ piece.

Matthew O’Hara and Pablo Serski provided the audience with both a laid back and threaded funnel of energy that was a refreshing treat and Duncan Fraser captured what Comedy in the Basement is all about with a thrust of edgy excitement and neatly put-together sequences.

Compere Matthew Gallagher was in top form with his series of off-the-cuff whacky but intelligent lines and was pinnacle in providing a top night of comedy at The Basement.

Sadly I had to leave before the night ended but my first trip to The Basement Bar will definitely not be my last.

Comedy in the Basement is a highly recommended venue to watch new and established acts. Pop by, have a drink and enjoy the close-up atmosphere and intimacy of touchy-feel laughter.

The Basement Bar
191 Byres Road

Article by Stephen Hamilton




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