I won’t lie: I did not have high expectations for “Stand-Ups Take the Stage”. This was based on the (sound, scientific) facts that I’ve never been to see comedy in St Andrews, and that I’ve found that St Andrews has a less-than-average amount of truly funny people. I now feel very bad and very snobby, because the Comedy Society has made me eat my words because, their comedy is, like, really good.
I have so far explained my out-of-place (read: superior) sense of humour by my Irishness, so was thrilled to witness not one but two Irish comedians take the stage. Aoife McAtamney chose to structure her set around a list of things she’s scared of. This included goats, commitment (of course), and fireworks: “not because they’re loud” but because, well, Northern Ireland has an issue with projectiles (shout-out to all the non-British people in the crowd who most likely didn’t get that joke). McAtamney’s relaxed delivery went well with her lovely wry wit (and lovely accent, if I do say so myself). Mark Moloney on the other hand specialised in word play: everything from reimagining the “Dad-bod” as a “father figure”, to Gwen Stefani wearing a “Swedish cape” (trust me, say it out loud). Each of his jokes landed – even if took a while for some of them to sink in, but that only made them funnier.
Bobby Innes targeted student life in an oh-so-relatable but clever fashion and ended by fantastically analysing modern love songs written by men by categorising them (“Hey, it left! I didn’t it could do that!”). Gabriel Robinson performed a similarly laid-back set with a self-deprecating humour and observations.
The most outrageous performer, or certainly the most graphic, was perhaps Tom Caruth. Somehow managing to unpack the meaning of happiness through performance issues and ill-timed bodily functions, he seemed to have the best relationship with the crowd, commenting on the rather enthusiastic whoops and cheers coming from the back row.
Christoph von Münchow assumed the role as the most out-there stand-up, and quite happily too. Aside from recounting his time as a juror and the dilemma of donating to charity or paying your parking ticket, he also vividly and hilariously detailed how he would profit from a time machine. Namely, by going to the 80s and buying a ton of shares in Amazon and Microsoft. Oh, and telling “Warner and Bro” to film “Lord of the Rings”, but with Cedric the Entertainer as Frodo. A motion I would second.
While all the performers had their own flavour and attributes, I couldn’t help noticing the recurrence of rather bleak themes. The theme of depression reoccurred a lot, but it can be handled hilariously. Christoph von Münchow for example started his set with a recording of himself telling himself how to work a crowd: “say something relatable to the student demographic” says the recording; “I’m depressed!” von Münchow cries. To be sure, this is true of most comedians, and so isn’t necessarily a criticism. It’s just an observation I had (that other reviewers have also noted), and I would be interested to see someone purposefully take on self-love and positivity and make that comedic instead. Just a thought.
All in all though, Stand-Ups Take the Stage was a thoroughly enjoyable night, even running a little short. I for one am 1) annoyed I have not attended any of Com Soc’s events before, and b) will endeavour to see more of their offerings. Who knew that spending an evening laughing would be such fun?
Speaking of other offerings, von Münchow is headlining his own show this Saturday 13th April 8.30pm at the Barron Theatre (tickets are £2), which should be good fun if this event was anything to go by.