Review: Corpus Smoker

Siobhan Flesher 4 February 2014

I had heard that the Corpus Smokers tend to improve in quality throughout the year, as the freshers who are just “giving it a go” gracefully bow out, and the comedians of Cambridge refine their acts.  Indeed it seemed that this crop certainly had more confidence and better material than those at my last outing to the Smoker last term.

Footlights President Ben Pope introduced the evening with a party popper, or as he called it, an impression of a clown ejaculating.  Aside from this slightly crude offering, his “cool young geography teacher” act was a fantastic introduction, setting the tone for a laidback, intimate evening.

Having participated in a number of Smokers this year, Adrian Gray returned with some wry musings on the Town vs. Gown phenomenon. He noted that the usual abuse levelled towards gown-wearing individuals is generally some unintentional compliment regarding Harry Potter, which he is happy to accept. This led on to a remarkably positive take on the validity of a “your mum” insult, which, while amusing, wasn’t quite believable.

Our second main act, Jamie Fraser, clad in the armour of hipsters everywhere, opened opining on his ability to relate to victims of racism despite being a white male. He accidentally garnered sympathy with the audience relating his tale of being the only ‘white boy’ where he grew up, and not being able to speak Malay (“no, not 'aww'!” he shouted in dismay).  While he claimed to have the flu, his performance certainly did not belie it.

Thirdly we had Milo Edwards whose thoughts on targeted advertising and gay-friendly orthodontists had the audience giggling for a considerable period. Personally I was particularly taken with his questionable French accent as he examined an article written by a Frenchwoman living in London on what her country really thinks of Britain. This descended into a positively surreal impression of the aforementioned Frenchwoman meeting the Queen, leading me to wonder if, in fact, the one glass of wine I had prior to the performance had been somewhat stronger than anticipated. The only letdown here was that his opening examples of 'feminist catcalls' had done the rounds a year or so ago on the internet.

Rosalind Peters provided some musical relief with a ukulele (always a good addition to any evening) and a very impressive voice. Her stand up between songs, however, seemed to pale in comparison the musical offerings and their somewhat black humour.

Finally we had Spaniard Victor Herrera, who provided a refreshing change from the usual Smoker mould; he mused on the 'English colony' of Magaluf, and had some marvellously bizarre impressions (including the 'hunchback of the library') which were worryingly relatable.

Overall a very entertaining evening, with refreshingly few awkward or lewd moments; I will certainly be returning in the near future.