A couple of weeks ago we squeezed in to the Chuckle Club, Kings College, to see Stewart Lee's Edinburgh preview show. Last night, we had a chance to compare his former comedy writing partner Richard Herring, who was performing his preview at the Amersham Arms, New Cross.
Although Lee is ostensibly the more 'political' comedian, Herring's show - about trying to reclaim the "Hitler moustache" for comedy - was the more activist and had been lent extra weight by the BNP European election wins.
He enjoys setting logic traps for his audience, like the paradoxes that Joseph Heller plays with in Catch-22. By the end of one part of his act, he'd made a convincing case for why "the racist man", who dismisses much of Asia and Oceania as "Chinese" is actually more of a colour-blind idealist than woolly liberals like us.
We managed to bag a sofa right by the front of the stage, which was fantastic, but hard work. As the show was a chance to try new material and as we were in direct line-of-sight of the stand-ups, we felt obliged to show encouragement by grinning furiously, laughing on cue and, pulling a few theatrical "reaction" faces. Like a knob.
Anyway, we understand that no-one comes to Brockley Central to read our opinions about comedy, so we'll simply add that it was very funny, with more to say than his last show, 'The Headmaster's Son'.
We'd not been to the Amersham since it got taken over by the Lock Tavern team, other than to stick our head inside when it first re-opened and we can't vouch for it as a music venue, but as a comedy venue, it worked pretty well. Perhaps because it was a Monday night, the audience needed a lot of geeing up during Russell Kane's act but the dark wooden walls, the intimacy of the space and the efficiency with which drinks were served eventually helped to create an atmospheric gig.