Review: Komedia New Comedy Award Final, Komedia, Brighton

The Komedia New Comedy Awards in association with Comic Boom comedy club and Victoria Nangle have been going for four years now and at last I made it down to Brighton for the final. Comedy competitions can often be long affairs with producers having big line-ups so that all the acts' mates buy tickets and fill the venue. No such problem at Komedia where nine acts, ably compered by Barry Ferns, played to a full room of what seemed like a non-partisan but very up-for-it crowd.

And if the crowd was up for it, so was first act Harrison Thomas, who hit the ground running with a high voltage delivery that certainly grabbed everyone's attention. It was a shame though that the material didn't quite justify the rage. A routine about his recent fatherhood frustrations was good but hardly justified his fury. As with the other acts here though, he's a relative newbie so we should cut him some slack. I'm sure the likes of Johnny Vegas and Nick Helm didn't emerge fully formed. Thomas certainly has presence and a strong base to build on.

UK-based Indian comic Archit Goenka (a previous So You Think You’re Funny? finalist) had a more laid back vibe by comparison and some decent original touches. Firstly full marks for the clean cut comic not going down the "People mistake me for Rishi Sunak route". Though there was politics here. Goenka bemoaned the fact that he'd arrived in England full of hope, only to see the country go down the pan, like a Ferrari driving off a cliff - I wondered if Rolls Royce might have been a better brand to choose. He's clearly a big cricket fan and his jokes on the sport were original and thoughtful. He showed a more serious side with an account of a racist incident on a train and a pay-off that wasn't the funniest but one you won't forget quickly.

Steph Cassin was one of those quirky acts where you can sometimes spend the first couple of minutes wondering if they are a comedy character. In this case Cassin's offbeat tales of growing up in rural Ireland were clearly real - or at least based in truth. If you like your jokes with an offbeat agricultural theme then look no further.

Andrew Fox made a quick impact talking about the injuries he has sustained being 6 foot 6 inches, hurting his chin where others might graze the top of their heads. In his baseballl cap and trackie bottoms and talking about growing up on a council estate he could have come across as a cousin of Simon Brodkin's Lee Nelson but Fox's stories had a ring of authenticity about them, well, maybe not the one about him being so small his parents could slip him and his endless siblings through the window when they lost their keys, but certainly some of his material. And Fox was clearly smart on the subject of class, aptly making the point that, of course, working class kids can be smart too. A clever and accessible set which up against close competition, won him first prize on the night.

Review continues here


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