February 8th, 2012


The Third Row is the new Front Row

Rule #1 at comedy clubs and gigs: if you're in the front row, expect interaction of some form with the performers. This may be fairly benign - at the Armstrong and Miller show at the Cambridge Corn Exchange the other month, the worst we had to do was pull our legs in as Ben Miller went charging along the row to borrow a victim for Armstrong's dentist's chair sketch.

But when we go to the Distraction Club, we're usually in the third row. There's a row of tables in front of us. We should be safe.

Yet, two months in a row, I've been 'got'.

Last month, it was Paul Sweeney who somehow caught sight of my raised eyebrow and started taking the proverbial out of me. Amusingly so, and not maliciously, but even so.

This month? Oh dear. A white Dublin comedy hip-hop duo called Abandoman. If I'd read this review in advance, I might have had qualms about being that close to the front. But I got hauled out of the audience, and played my first ever game of Connect 4 — with Mitch Benn and the Distractions around me as well — as the show finale.

I expect it on YouTube within the next few days. D'ya think I could file a DMCA request to have that taken down?

(Abandoman were great. If you ever get the chance to see them, get along and do so. They're the type of act which must be seen live, they rely so heavily on audience interaction. To see someone improvising completely appropriate lyrics in response to whatever random stuff lands in front of him is something that just won't come across on a recording: you've got to see that sharpness in action from a distance of a few feet away.)

One thing I've learnt: from the stage, the place where bellinghwoman and I usually sit is pretty much in the centre of the field of view. I could see her taking pictures of me.