Live Review: Piccadilly Comedy Club New Comedian of the Year

The Piccadilly Comedy Club New Comedian of the Year final has become a pretty good talent-spotter in recent years. Rising star Sofie Hagen was a previous finalist and last year’s winner, Eshaan Akbar, who did a fine job of compering this year’s show, is now managed by Micky Flanagan’s manager and clearly going places. The club’s promoter, Mike Manera, who picks the acts from new performers at his club, has had some stick on social media for the white, male line-up this year, but while you could find fault with the diversity you couldn’t really find fault with the quality on display. 

First up was the scarily youthful Ed Night (formerly Ed Day) who was straight out of the blocks with plenty of energy and plenty of laughs chatting about his laddish mates who like nothing better than fighting and taking drugs that “make you want to go and rob a shoe shop.” Night was not afraid to touch on politics too, with a pretty sharp gag about Aleppo sounding like one of the Marx Brothers.  Acts here get ten minutes which is longer than many finals but maybe not long enough to go too deep into any subjects and Night came slightly unstuck when he started to talk about his mental health issues. This was material that needed more space and in this slot the laughs started to thin out a little. But there was no denying Night’s natural strengths as a comic (he is, by the way, Kevin Day’s son) and he deserved second place from the three wise judges (Manera, comedy booker Julia Chamberlain and yours truly).

Second up was Swindon’s Dan Audritt. The name sounded familiar and when I checked it turned out that he had been a finalist here in 2015 too. He showed a lot of promise then with some good, clever if conventional writing, and that is still the case here. The writing still felt better than the delivery. There was a lack of confidence which was underlined by the fact that he apologised at the start about covering the well-trodden terrain of relationships and when a joke failed to land Audritt drew attention to the fact when he should have just moved on. He did have a very good line though about doctor/patient role play in the bedroom – I won’t spoil it here.

After the first of two breaks came the first of two musical acts. Jon Long's friendly/posh personality certainly won over the crowd quickly. He definitely has the amiability factor going for him – he was voted audience favourite at the Musical Comedy Awards earlier this year. It was a shame then that his first routine, about songs such as “You Are So Beautiful…” not quite being as romantic as they intend, was hardly filled with groundbreaking observations. His song about working in a recycling centre and listing the things that people dump there did have heaps of laughs even if many of them were dildo-based. Long had a good crowdpleasing gig, but not quite judge-pleasing enough to earn a placing.

Review continues here.

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