Jokers' Comedy Club, Ipswich

Jokers' Comedy Club, Manor Ballroom, Ipswich, 1 July

Jokers' Comedy Club, Manor Ballroom, Ipswich, 1 July

Being booked to play a comedy club must be subject comedians to enormous pressure. After all, it comes with the expectation that they are going to be funny.

So who'd be a comedian? Well, Dan Atkinson, Brian Higgins, Gary Delaney and Roger Monkhouse for a start.

They must have felt mightily reassured when they encountered the packed audience of friendly natives at the Manor Ballroom, in Ipswich. Even the most slender of comic references were well-received and it wasn't just because the audience was drinking. The atmosphere, helped along by bar services, was good-humoured and even the picked-on young men along the front row were game for a laugh, bless 'em.

The laughter came in gales, hurricanes even, even my rather serious view of comedy ended up in tatters, as I wiped the occasional tear of mirth from my eyes.

Dan Atkinson, wearing a beard, an ill-fitting DJ, and a pair of vast bell-bottoms - perhaps in an attempt to disguise his youthfulness - is an accomplished compere. He investigated the main traits of Ipswich; “Is it posh?” he asked, defining posh as being able to keep an unopened bottle of wine in the house for more than a day. After warming up an already steaming audience (it was a hot night) he introduced the first of three acts, Brian Higgins. His comedy CV lists him as Scotland's finest ginger-haired comedian. As I know of no others, this may or not be a fulsome tribute but, sorry to say, although he had much of the audience rocking with laughter at his very rude humour, it was not really my cup of tea or, on this particular evening, my half of lager. His account of his wife's 39-hour labour seemed to take nearly as long.

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Next up was Gary Delaney whose dead-eye, dead-pan delivery of magnificent one-liners hit the mark every time. Only once did his political incorrectness elicit a groan of disbelief - he could hardly believe he got away with the some of the others.

Amazingly, although we are used to this sort of humour, I hadn't heard any of these before. I will allow myself the luxury of sharing this one with you: “Yuri Gellar - hard to stab.” Brilliant stuff.

Top of the bill was the immaculate Roger Monkhouse. Sometimes reminding me of the late, lamented comic genius Peter Cook, Monkhouse is intelligent, articulate and not afraid of using words of more than two syllables. His deconstructive humour is hugely funny, clever and unique. He knocks spots off most of the TV comedy regulars.

Jokers' Comedy Club is on the first Sunday of each month - book early to avoid disappointment.

Lynne Mortimer

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