The end of comedy (at IOU and at the Brighton Comedy Festival for this year, anyway)

Sean MacLoughlin and Alex Petrovic hug on stage during the last moments of IOU Comedy

So, it’s with a mixture of sadness and relief that I note the end of the Brighton Comedy Festival. Relief because having to go out and see yet another bloody comedian ever other night got a bit much. And sadness because seeing yet another bloody comedian every other night was really quite fun.

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen: The Boy With Tape on his Face, Freakshow, James Acaster, Piff the Magic Dragon, Charity Chuckle, Joe Lycett, the last ever IOU Comedy, Nick Helm, and on the last night, Josie Long and Tom Stade (and I also wandered into Best of the Fest for a moment by going through the wrong door at the Dome).

All of these shows were fantastic, but I think my favourite three (excluding Charity Chuckle featuring Zoe Lyons, Romesh Ranganathan, Squarkers competition winner, Ingrid Dahle, Darren Maskell, Nathanial Metcalfe and lovely compare Tom Toal, who are the best acts ever at the best gig ever with the best audience ever for the best charity ever (Amaze) but then I am a little bit biased) was Josie Long, Joe Lycett and Nick Helm.

Nick Helm reenacts the Deer Hunter with a lazy Susan loaded with several cans of Fanta and one can of Tango.

We saw Nick’s new show in the first week in Edinburgh and when we bumped into him later he said he felt it hadn’t quite bedded in, though it seemed great to us. The show we saw in Brighton, despite Nick’s just returning after pulling a muscle in his back, has definitely taken it up a notch or two and had a much more audience-friendly uplifting ending. Bracing stuff as usual. “HELM! HELM! HELM! HELM!”

I read stuff about Joe Lycett for a while and heard his fantastic set on the BBC Radio Two stand-up competition final, which I loved, but this was the first time I had seen him live and I was blown away by his easy charm and his love of Ting. As luck would have it, my seeing-Joe-Lycett-live count went from “not at all” to “twice in one night” (Gosh, he has stamina.) as we went from his show at the Komedia to Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar to catch the last ever IOU Comedy night, which has been running for about three years under the lovely Sean MacLoughlin and Alex Petrovic. Joe Lycett also made his way over, and it was interesting to see how the same material we’d seen an hour ago could twist and turn to suit the performance and the crowd as Joe did much of his set sitting in one man’s lap!

We saw Josie Long last night. I am a big fan. Her current mix of whimsy and political activism is quite interesting and, more importantly, hilarious. After the gig I met up with a few friends and had my first Jager bomb (s). They are very moreish and definitely helped the Brighton Comedy Festival end with a bang!

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