Event Review: Wolfson Howler – Monday 21st January

24 January 2013

Sophie Williams finds something to enjoy in both the student and the professional performers

At £5 per ticket, the Wolfson Howler is a bargain. Regardless of the quality of stand-up proffered by the student comedians that begin the show, the headlining act undoubtedly makes it worth it. In this case the opening two acts, Brian Ghosh and Milo Edwards, seemed to have both based their routines on the same ‘How to do Comedy’ guide. Though separate acts, both began by riffing on their names and what people associate them with before moving onto their subjects and their social connotations. Both sets had their moments, however, and Ghosh’s material about a Biblical ‘Thou shalt not…’ drinking game was a highlight of the night.

The tussle between compere Nish Kumar and an antagonistic linguistics student who claimed that “bibulous” was his favourite word (even though he didn’t know what it meant) brought up the energy of the night. The next act, Josie Bowerman, earned a warm audience response, even if her Northern charm meant that sometimes her routine got more laughs than it probably deserved. The star of the student/alumni performers was Bhargav Narayanan, whose one-liners, many of which tackled touchy subjects like disease and incest, were, for the most part, hilarious. Narayanan is a comedian with the knack for the unexpected.

Headliner David Trent had a highly successful Edinburgh Fringe last year, having earned a nomination for the Fosters Newcomer award. His brand of brash pop-culture trashing felt both comfortably familiar and new, thanks to his trademark projector screen and self made videos. Imagine an episode of Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe fronted by his sex-obsessed, hairier cousin. Trent, perhaps because he announced that he is a primary-school teacher by day, earned great (disgusted) laughs from an audience that clearly did not know what to expect. Although Trent noticeably lost his audience half-way through his routine, he was overall an uproarious success.