Sat 25 March 2017
For this edition of the Stand’s Saturday Show, the bawdily energetic Susan Morrison presides over a clear Scotland-England divide, with the first two Scottish acts followed by equally entertaining equivalents from south of the border.
The night opens with Hamilton comic John Gavin, whose foul-mouthed yet consistently hilarious set goes where lesser men fear to tread in his tales of dealing with the wife’s drunk friend and his daughter’s menstruation. Gavin’s juxtaposition of this material with observations on product placement in The Walking Dead make for an interesting experience to say the least, with audience responses varying from nervous chuckles to all-out belly-laughs. The physically-imposing Gavin is a unique performer who may be an acquired taste with some audiences, but has a confident enough delivery of his material to push past this obstacle and engage the majority of the audience.
Fellow Scot Gareth Mutch couldn’t be more different from Gavin, with his material focusing on his ability to get girls due to his non-threatening nature and the awkwardness of buying Viagra for his dad. However, Mutch’s jokes feel somewhat lightweight in comparison to the material provided by the rest of the night’s acts, and his delivery of them is somewhat uncertain and tentative.
In contrast, Paul McCaffrey’s confident delivery of his material allows the experienced comic to jump confidently from observations about people who don’t understand queues to lamenting his inability to withstand hangovers and still be a member of Club 18-30. McCaffrey has the audience in the palm of his hand and never loses them for a second, even when he momentarily has his back to them whilst using the Stand’s backdrop to illustrate one of his gags. Whilst this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone familiar with McCaffrey’s extensive substantial comedic experience, most notably as the host of BBC Three’s Impractical Jokers, his set provides a thoroughly entertaining experience that shows why he is in such high demand as a performer.
The headlining act is Northerner Mick Ferry, who has the entire audience roaring with laughter at his X-rated tangents, which includes an inspired routine on an atheist afterlife that manages to include a retold but eviscerating attack on Thatcher. The only way to describe Ferry is to refer to him as Peter Kay’s freewheeling, slightly psychotic older brother, which comes across in his interaction with two audience members – although it’s hard to imagine Kay jokingly checking an audience member’s arm for track marks!