King’s Jest

Marcus Hallan 3 February 2010

9pm Saturday 30th January – Keynes Hall, King’s College


The first King’s Jest of 2010 stood as a throne-worthy testament to the wide variety of stand-up Cambridge has to offer, as the night yet again provided another welcome opportunity for many a fresh face to try their hand at the risky art. The odd moment fell flat and a few of the comedians were kindly egged on by their home crowd, but there is no need to begrudge such loyal support in an evening that rings true of a friendly atmosphere and holds little of that tedious and punning self-indulgence that occasionally graces other stages.

This sell-out event remains ever popular as new acts appear and the old progress.  Jokes ranged from the distinctly esoteric musings of James Syrett and his imperialistic ‘insert’ keys and assorted computer material, to the downright messy deadpan realm of Charlie ‘bukake with The Beatles’ Reams. The one constant throughout was of course the warm and receptive crowd who relished every moment of fruit fondling, flip chart freemasonry, Nazi posh-hating and with all the invocations of the overheard chavette that ‘broke her baby’ that they could wish for.  Pierre Novellie warrants particular mention- his impressive, composed and cool performance mirrored his ‘Scottish refrigerators’ and more of his offbeat material should certainly be looked out for in the future.

The headliner Liam Williams held court consummately and had raised his game considerably from the last fag-end lines witnessed at his prior outing at the Wolfson Howler. Whether it was toying with the upper gallery or juggling his jumper on the microphone lead, he seemed at genuine ease and capped off the evening with poise and sharp talent, dragging an innocent bystander named Julia upon the stage.  The mysterious piano playing gal with buttons for earrings accompanied ‘Liam’s Scrap Book’ masterfully and should be commended for her impromptu contribution, providing exactly the sort of fun and live spontaneity with which a night such as this should be full to the brim. Phil Wang and Jenna Corderoy should indeed be congratulated for setting up such an evening of entertainment that continues to bring in the crowds and laughs alike, a year on from its initial and auspicious founding. Go along next time if you can, for a comic feast inescapably fit for a King choking on the jest-streams of a laughable Monarch Airline night-flight fuelled uproariously by charming fancy, vitriol and mirth.

Marcus Hallan