Dafty News at the Glasgow Comedy Festival: Reviewing Viv Gee and friends.
Friday the 21st of March was one of the busiest days on my comedy calendar. It was a full day and night going from place to place trying to catch as many acts at as many venues as possible; beginning with my own.
One venue in particular was one I was not missing. When the lovely Viv Gee is about to release her Vespbees into the night – I’m the light bulb that’s covered in honey and I want smothered in comedy acts until the small hours before dawn. I just love live comedy – it’s my addiction. It’s a bit more expensive than drink and drugs, but hey, the higher the value of the product, the higher the price is gonna be, right?
Due to my timescale, however, I sadly missed the earlier show but got there just in time for StuWho?’s GERRITRIGHTUPYE show. You can read that article here >>> then onto the later shows at the magical wee Vespbar, in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre.
I make a point in not taking a notepad with me when reviewing venues and acts. To me, if the act is not punching me in the ribs then they haven’t been memorable enough for me. If I have to write down notes about an act it means it is me who is making the effort when the onus, as far as I am concerned, is on the comedian to make an impression on his or her audience.
Mostly, I do know who I am going to see but the comedy world doesn’t always work that way. There are always nuggets of surprises and that’s the beauty of stand-up comedy. The Vespbar, on more occasions than I can remember, has always triumphed in coming up with the goods. If Viv Gee is running it then you can bet the listing is going to be well worth the entrance fee and your time.
I have to say a special mention to the staff at the Vespbar; who are extra special in their service as they are in their friendliness.
The break between StuWho?’s GERRITRIGHTUPYE show and the next one gave me the chance to mingle with some comedy friends of old and new ones I had the pleasure of getting acquainted to.
Off stage, Obie (John Obrien) pranced and hunched down like an animal eyeing up its prey. I am guessing it’s a pre-stage ritual. Viv announces him to the stage where he then pounces like a big cat into the arena of stand-up comedy feed.
Obie’s style has been his brandmark for so long he does it like all good experienced comedians do after a while: effortlessly.
He’s a very loveable character but not in the rogue sense. He’s charming and endearing and takes a pan-eyed look at the world. I think many people live a life like Obie so it would be no surprise if he ever came up with a show or album titled: Your’s and My Life According to Obie.
His off-the-cuff quirky style fits any size.
Obie interacted with the willing crowd, softly going from one table to the next where he offloaded his life’s troubles that most people suffer from and can relate to.
The reaction is a well-accepted one with lots of silly giggles to outpours of laughter as Obie crafted up his move through sips of his beer.
I thoroughly enjoyed Obie from his loveable personality to his stand-up material. It turned out to be a treat as he did one set then back on again later.
The night ended with the lovely Anna Devitt engaging with the crowd; which she held them in her hand and accountable at the same time – for their chosen professions…it was brilliant how she engaged in ad-lib and opened herself up and made available for anything.
For all she knew the audience could well have been full of eccentric gynecologists doubling up as part-time firefighters. There was nothing stopping Anna ripping them a new one.
Anna is a brilliant observer and dare I say ‘people watcher’. She carries the torch for female comedians extremely well and although I don’t see the difference between a male comedian and a female comedian, I do support and kind of favour female comics. My top ten list of favourite comedians shows more females than male…go figure.
I say Anna carries the torch for female comedy but I would not like to burden her.
Anna’s set was not only about interaction, she came well-prepared and structured as only a professional does, and her appeal on stage covers everything from; cheeky, bubbly, daring and edgy. She has an appealing aura made for stage.
It was my first time seeing Anna on stage but after Friday’s enjoyable night watching the sassy lassie from Glasgow – it definitely won’t be the last time.
She closed the night perfectly like a good film and I can’t wait for her sequels.
The line-up: (the ones I saw)
Viv Gee is well-known and well-respected in the Scottish comedy circuit. The lovely east coast lassie is renowned for being one of the best hosts and comperes in the business and her passion for others’ comedy is legendary with her having launched the careers of many fledgling comics.
Her own stand-up work is a sublime craft of decades experience with her loveable persona. A very attractive lady in more ways than one.
Anna Devitt is even more lovelier in real-life and has a laugh that could stop a Mexican wave at a football match…and make it go back in the opposite direction.
Anna is notable for her TV work – being a family member of the Rab C Nesbitt clan doesn’t do her CV any harm – but she is not the type to sit back and admire her vitae; this funny straight-talking gorgeous Glaswegian is ambitious and as industrious as the best of them and there’s nothing she can’t do or achieve.
The street tough chick has an answer and a line for everything – and everyone. She is also adorable and a very lovely girl with a bright future ahead of her. Who’s gonna stop her? I dare ye.
It is no surprise to learn she was 2013 Scottish Variety Awards Best New Scottish Comedian. She acts like a winner, she behaves like a winner and she deserves to be a winner.
Although Anna comes across as the cheeky street-wise girl with a bashful outgoing, she’s actually a young lady with a high empathy level and possesses an instant likeable character – on and off stage.
You cannot help but lover her work, her enthusiasm, her energy and her focus.
You don’t need to be a fan of female comedy only – you just need to be a fan of comedy and a lover of laughs in general because Anna has the whole package ready and waiting…to deliver it right to you. And with that cheeky wee glint in her sparkling eyes, I ask you, who’s gonna resist? ~ Stephen Hamilton
This girl is going places, I am very sure of that.
John O’Brien, affectionately known as Obie, is the first comedian I’ve seen who can go from painting a budgie to depression all under the same breath as a sip of a pint. The much-adored funny guy is no spring chicken – or dare I say sprayed budgie – to the comedy scene having racked up a staggering 15-years of stage performances…emphasis on the stagger…only kidding, Obie. Obie has a laid back approach and he looks like he is at his most comfortable when holding the mic and interacting with the audience. There’s a brilliantly-awkward thing going on with Obie that audiences warm to. I know I did.
Abigoliah Schamaun, the New York funny lady is not only a broad but she lives in America, too. That will probably fly past her so at this point we’ll just put it down to lost in translation and I will explain to her in an email. This no nonsense, tattood New Yorker is a stick on to make you laugh from the serious to the most crazy life situations subjects imaginable. Nothing is missed from this fast-paced, highly-entertaining American comic. She was on fire and got everybody’s attention the very minute she took to the mic. Abigoliah is just a brilliant, brilliant comedian.
Scott Gibson has never failed to leave an impression on me every time I’ve seen him live. He always, on every single occasion, delivers big time. Don’t just take my word for it – the audience is the judge on that one and they looked and sounded like they enjoyed every minute of Scott’s commanding performance.
Scott has this canny ability to take you to a place where you think you know how it’s going to pan out – then he brilliantly swings into different angles of his well-thought out material.
He’s quick, very quick, with a very good stage presence, solid range of material and a sharp-tongued delivery. Incidentally, Scott came out on top as the highest score on the Vespometer. Only pipping American Abigoliah Schamaun. And that is something very special to accomplish.
Adam Struth – the James Blunt look-alike, which reminded me of the time when Charlie Chaplin once entered his very own Charlie Chaplin look-alike competition…and he came third!
I don’t think Adam would have any problems there but it would definitely have to be a James Blunt look-alike competition.
Moving on…I took to Adam instantly, as did the audience. He’s clear-talking, in a gentleman-like way, and his approach is calm and reassuring. I like a comedian who is in control of the audience’s responses – but especially of their own emotions.
Adam’s material is intelligently witty and with some very pleasant surprise punchlines. I also like the art of surprise in a comedian and Adam, the tall gentleman with the likeable personality and easy-on-the-eye stage presence, delivered both the pleasantry and the surprise and I would certainly recommend going to see this fine chap. I know I will do again.
Desky Lewis was another comedian I warmed to. His sincere non-complicated act was a pleasure and I felt the audience sensed that too. Desky has that well-balanced look and feel to his set.
His laid back natural image means a lot to me as I am used to favouring the bold, the brash and the over-self-opinionated. Desky got my full-on undivided attention – and he deserved it.
You can always judge by the audience’s reaction how good a gag is and the Vespometer notched up some very impressive laughs from this fine articulate comedian.
I thoroughly enjoyed Desky and for certain I will be enjoying more of his very skilled and impressionable work.
I am booked to go and see more acts at other venues, and invited to do my own stuff, too, so it’s going to be another hectic few weeks ahead. I guess I am on more of a crusade in helping to promote live comedy so please check your local and nationwide papers to view live comedy listings.
If you are a comedian and I like your stuff you might see yourself in the Dafty News. Of course, prior to publishing I always insist in your full approval. We never go to publication without your say so.