Woodlands Bumper Value Comedy Club
Uisge Beatha, Glasgow, Sat 29 Nov, 6 Dec
With parts of the Jongleurs’ chain under threat of sell-off, these are interesting times for comedy in Scotland. Even more so now with the growing number of smaller nights emerging to challenge the Stand-Jongleurs hegemony and spread the stagetime around. By launching a regular Saturday night at Uisge Beatha, just up the road from The Stand’s Glasgow arm, local impresario Alan Anderson might be perceived as moving in on the established club’s turf. But relations seem cordial enough and Anderson stresses that his half-price comedy night, so-christened because the £6 entry is half that of The Stand’s on its busiest evening, is simply ‘picking up’ the Woodside club’s ‘overspill’ and pitches itself at cash-conscious locals and students who are enticed in for £4.
With 80 or so punters crammed like galley slaves into a clammy intimacy with compere Scott Agnew, the inaugural night bode well for the future, with opener Rab Brown showcasing a skilled turn of phrase that belied his newcomer status. His standout gag might have originally belonged to Vladimir McTavish but Brown makes it his own with successive well-executed callbacks. Rob Kane was rather more aggressive, less ambitious and seemed to be competing with Agnew for the crowd’s ‘oohs’ of knee-jerk disgust, but Teddy (pictured) was an assured presence at the mic, pulling off a shamelessly contrived Heather Mills gag and successfully negotiating the charm tightrope of his sordid romantic misadventures.
Emancipated from presenting Children in Need the night before, some of headliner Des Clarke’s routines had a whiff of mothball, such as his observations on the Glasgow Airport terror attacks, but there’s no restraining his impish wit and fresh-faced star quality in a venue normally reserved for folk music. Intriguingly, future headliners for this cosy night include the outsize personalities of Janey Godley, Raymond Mearns and Stu Who?