Friday, 26 July 2013


Impressive Impressions on a Sizzling Stage.

There certainly weren’t any Cold Feet at The Ha Ha Club at The Sparrowhawk last Tuesday where in sweltering conditions former Spitting Image impressionist and actor John Thomson took to the stage to entertain a packed sell-out crowd.

Thomson, 44, has returned to stand up after a successful television acting career and I’m very glad he has taken that decision.

I had the pleasure of chatting to him before the gig and I must say that he is a genuinely funny and personable chap. He talked candidly about his return to comedy while illustrating with numerous impressions and at one point had to be told to be quiet because the laughs from backstage were competing with the compare out front.

His act is almost a one-man variety show complete with obligatory dog act and he had the audience in stitches from the minute Sylvester Stallone took to the microphone.

He is a very gifted vocal impersonator and his talents are not restricted to the likes of Frank Spencer he introduces you to a plethora of animal and firearm noises that were simply superb, most notably the ballistic being placed in an anti-tank tube. I’m pretty confident that he’s the only person on the circuit with these skills and who knew that there was a difference between a daytime and a night-time dog.

A few years ago being able to mimic Jimmy Savile would have been par for the course. However, now as he suggested it’s more difficult to shoe-horn those sorts of people in to a current act. But Thomson came up with the novel idea of speaking to him through an Ouija board. You will probably be pleased to know that the former Jim’ll Fix It host is currently burning in the fiery pits of hell as it happens would you believe.

James Bond fans will have loved the “where are they now” part with Sir Sean Connery working in Tesco and Sir Roger Moore in the Post Office and his take on Idris Elba being the next 007 was terrific.

Rolf Harris, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cheetah all make an appearance to name a few. Without giving any of his gags away the set is thoroughly entertaining and was rounded up by some superb rude limericks courtesy of Christopher Walken.

It was a highly amusing routine and would have looked perfectly at home at the Hammersmith Apollo. To be able to watch such a talent upstairs in a pub in Burnley is testament to the reasons why he’s doing it again; because he loves it.

If he’s gigging near you, go and see him. If he isn’t you may be able to catch him later in the year in John Godber’s play September in the Rain with Claire Sweeney which is touring the country from September. You won’t be disappointed.

However, I’m still not quite sure why the next Bond should be Bill Oddie.

You can follow him on twitter @JohnnyThomson2

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Cold Feet Star to Headline at Popular Country Pub

John Thomson, the star of Cold Feet, The Fast Show and longtime collaborator of Steve Coogan is to headline The Ha Ha Club at The Sparrowhawk, Fence on Tuesday 23rd July.

Thomson, 44, is making a return to stand up following a successful career in film, television, theatre and radio spanning over two decades.

After winning the Perrier award in 1992 with Steve Coogan at the Edinburgh Festival he went on to work and write with Steve in the Paul Calf video diaries and Coogan’s Run; later to play the pub landlord Ken in Men Behaving Badly.

Landlord, Mark Etherington said: “It’s a bit of a coup and an absolute pleasure to have John headlining our comedy gig.”

The Sparrowhawk has been running successful comedy nights for over two years and has previously played host to Chris Ramsey star of BBC hit comedy Hebburn.

He added: “Our comedy nights are always well received and we’re always trying to raise the bar in terms of talent.”

Support will come in the form of El Purnell, numero uno comicá d’Ecuador. Delivering his act in his native Spanish he captivates the audience with confidence, bravado and high-levels of interaction and participation to create an hilarious set.

Expertly compared by the jocular Will Duggan, the lineup will be completed by Will Setchell and Burnley’s own, Arron Riley.

Tickets are only £10 and are available at or from the pub on 01282 603034.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

NICK HELM - Review

photo by amy brammall
Nick Helm is one of my favourite comedians. 

He was nominated for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2011 for his show Dare to Dream and he also won Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe Award with his gag: “I needed a password with eight characters - so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

For those of you who haven't had a chance to see him yet (I reckon you should) he's like a man on the edge. He shouts, snarls, whinges and whines and also genuinely looked like he was going to burst in to tears at one point. He is one seriously unhinged individual! Well that’s what he has you believe anyway. 

I saw him live just over year ago at Burscough Wharf courtesy of The Ha Ha Comedy Club and just before he took to the stage I was lucky enough to hold his guitar (I was stood at the back with the other acts as you do) and have a brief chat with him. He’s actually a softly spoken, lovely bloke! But that’s not the guy that you see on stage. 

After a nervous looking entrance (all part of the act) from stage left he opened with a simple question aimed at an audience member; do you like jokes? However, it’s the ferocious and manic way in which he repeatedly delivered the enquiry that shocked you into immediate laughter. 

He banged out some superb one-liners and actually applauded and congratulated himself on their greatness with fist pumps and hip gyrations, which I found particularly amusing. He then reassured the audience that the gig had actually started and that lightening would not be appearing from his manhood!

These gags were pretty funny but it was the style of delivery that made them work more than anything.

He went on to tell us a little about his sex life and his use of a luminous condom which made me chuckle somewhat and most blokes will probably want to try it, but to be fair but I can’t really tell you what he did with it without spoiling the joke.

He is also a talented poet and his own composition entitled simply “gin” may make you cry, probably with laughter.

As I said
 earlier Helm plays guitar on stage too. Now, I’ve never particularly been one for comedy songs with maybe the exception of Monty Python however, I loved his songs.

They were catchy and rather amusing and if you didn’t sing you were shouted at. One composition described how a particular woman would be better going out with him because she would look thinner stood next to him rather than her thinner boyfriend. Hope he doesn’t stand next to me then.

Unfortunately at the gig I attended there was a persistent heckler. These people really annoy me. If I wanted to pay money to watch some local idiot mouthing off then I would, but I hadn’t. They can really spoil the flow of the delivery of the material of an act. However, fear not, he came up with the funniest original put down I have ever seen. 

As we had been stood at the back, the heckler in question (let’s call him Colin) had already been clocked by Helm and he had prepared himself in advance. 

As soon as Colin started his heckle, Helm lifted his t-shirt to reveal a message written on his hairy chest in big bold marker pen. It read: “Colin is a w*****!” The whole audience cheered. 

Colin was quiet at last.

The gig was superb and one of my favourite I have had the pleasure of attending.

He’s recently recorded three Comedy Blaps for Channel 4, which I suggest you watch and already appeared on Russell Howard’s Good News. So I think you will be seeing a lot more of him in the near future.

Unsettlingly Original yet Outstanding!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Daves One Night Stand Awards 2013

The results for Dave's One Night Stand Awards 2013 have finally been announced.

The winner was The Frog & Bucket Comedy Club in Manchester.

The Northwest continues to be a hotbed of comedy talent at the moment with The Frog and Bucket going from strength to strength with its consistent high quality of comedians and diverse shows such as Beat the Frog, Laughing Cow and Barrel of Laughs nights.

The runner up was Daly's Comedy Club in Omagh and third place went to Big Night Out in Leeds.

Meanwhile, Lancashire based The Ha Ha Club had no less than three venues in the top ten. They were Ffos Las in Carmarthenshire, Warwick Racecourse in Warwickshire and Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline. They were placed fifth, seventh and eighth respectively. 

Bryan Malcolm, who set up the Chorley-based comedy club around two years ago, said: "I was delighted that one of our venues was voted in to the top ten never mind three. It's unbelievable and a fantastic achievement."

The Ha Ha Club has built up a superb reputation in the last few years, hosting gigs in and around Lancashire in such places at The Sparrowhawk in Fence and Burscough Wharf in Burscough with top comedians taking to the stage such as Chris Ramsey and Nick Helm.

Bryan added: "To be recognised in a national competition like this shows that the hard work we have put in is worth it."

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Danny Pensive is funny. 
Very funny. 
Old school funny!

He travels all over the world and simply write his observations down in his diary then shares them with you. 

His sweet and endearing persona makes him a loveable character. 

I've seen him three times not and every time he takes you on a different journey. 

His comments on the new systems of food nutritional labelling are succinct and so obvious that you'll be wondering why you never thought about it like that before!

Danny is also a talented songwriter. His songs flow with charming iambic pentameter telling stories about everything from household pets to household keys!

He lives with his Nana and she is the basis for many of his comedic observations. He has a superb tale about what happened when the Church of the Latter Day Saints turned up at his front door!

It is a breath of fresh air to watch Danny. He is neither rude nor crude and does not use ANY foul language which is a rarity these days. 

He's one of the funniest comedians I have seen. After watching him you will feel warm inside and probably have a wet face from all the tears of laughter!

A genuinely funny guy.

Follow his travels @DannyPensive