Clever observations and great one-liners

Barnstormers Comedy Club, The Capitol, Horsham,

Sunday, March 17

Barnstormers Comedy Club was back at The Capitol on Sunday for another dose of stand-up comedy goodness.

Irish comedian Michael Legge was the compere this time and did a great job of warming the crowd up for the three acts of the evening.

Quick-thinking with a rapid-fire delivery, Michael had no problem picking on people in the front row and whipping up a flurry of jokes based on what he saw.

The lone person sitting right at the front and a couple of late-comers provided plenty of material for him. The fact that it was St Patrick’s day also added to the merriment, giving Michael an opportunity to mock Britain’s supposed lack of enthusiasm for all things Irish.

First up was John Newton, whose set took a while to get going but soon had the audience laughing and applauding.

His set relied on one-liners but was far more cheery than Steven Wright’s style of comedy. His jokes were well-received and most of them got a great response.

However, some of the jokes were a little bit too clever to be laugh-out-loud funny, occasionally creating only a mild chuckle once they had sunk in.

The one-line joke approach is difficult to get right because it makes a comedian’s set stop and start, which can be jarring for an audience. Overall, though, John Newton was cheeky and highly likeable.

The second act of the evening was Chris McCausland, who offered a very different style of comedy.

He was much more conversational and laid back, drawing humour from moments in his own life. It was initially surprising that he was able to do this so successfully, as one of the first things he did onstage was explain that he’s blind.

However, Chris amazingly and, it has to be said, inspirationally, managed to find a funny side to it. For example, he made light of the fact that he needs to look at a DVD menu to select the audio description mode on a film, which actually turns out to be unbelievably patronising.

His jokes were wonderfully well-timed and observant. His observation about learning Portuguese got a round of applause after it had ended, as he accurately and breathlessly ridiculed the formal manner of speech that is encouraged when learning a new language.

When Michael Legg introduced the final act, Eddy Brimson, he claimed Barnstormers had saved the best for last.

To be honest, I think it was borderline impossible to upstage Chris McCausland. However, Eddy’s laddish style and gleefully blunt comedy went down well. He wasn’t afraid of saying what was on his mind, but did so in a way that never made the audience feel uncomfortable.

Barnstormers Comedy Club has shows at The Capitol, Horsham, on the third Sunday of every month.