Review: Corpus Smoker

Siobhan Flesher 18 November 2013

11pm, Mon 18 Nov 2013, Corpus Playroom

Upon a drizzly, not-quite-raining-but-certainly-not-dry, dark, Monday evening, as I continued the slow recovery from Week Five, I had high hopes for the Corpus Smoker.

The evening opened with some spectacularly British puns from compere Charlie Palmer, including a Compare the Market reference, which, of course, no evening should be without. The poor creation that is the offspring of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian was given some alternative name suggestions, including some particularly student-niche references. The highlight of our rather jolly host’s act was the bizarre giving out of ‘presents’, including a bag of milk. The idea of a bag of milk has always perplexed me – I was glad to see I was not the only one.

The first stand-up comic, Josh Erde, immediately impressed with his dedication to Movember. In fact, I am fairly sure that seeing him and his memorable handlebar around Cambridge over the past couple of weeks was what prompted me to wonder at what point it is appropriate to ask someone if they are doing Movember, or just look ridiculous as a matter of course. This was promptly demonstrated by his apt observations of the art, or rather, sport of growing a moustache and the attached social implications. Comments about various ‘cancers of the dick’ seemed a little crude, but were still a hit with the audience.

The second categorised himself amongst the ‘skinny, somewhat well-dressed’, and indeed was exceptionally skinny. He shared some excellent musings about the state of this ‘community’ and contended that with Benedict Cumberbatch having been recently voted ‘Sexiest Man of the Year’, they were getting too arrogant and it was all soon going to go wrong.

The penultimate act of the night had some marvellously off-colour jokes, but the anecdote of being walked in on twice whilst wanking verged a little too far into the unnecessarily vulgar – it just lacked the delivery that might have made it more acceptable.

The final set though, stole the show, and had me giggling from the first word. Being the mature grad student that I am, I know most of the Potter Puppet Pals by sound alone. And by God, I swear Archie Henderson-Cleland is secretly cultivating a career as the voice of Potter Puppet Pal Severus Snape. It was especially uncanny when a small portion of Harry Potter was recited verbatim with an audience member. Add to this the fact that he seems to specialise in musical comedy and the package was complete.  He continued with a song called ‘Moderately Attractive Teacher’ as well as some more conventional stand up, in a very bizarre and fun Jay Foreman-like style (if you don't know him, then I highly recommend).

Overall, it was a good evening with some giggles and a few cringes; while the cruder jokes and anecdotes took away from the wittier side, the addition of awful-yet-wonderful puns, and musical comedy made for an evening of hilarity.