Wolfson College, 8pm, Mon 26 Nov
The last in this term’s series of Howlers produced less of a howl and more of a chuckle from its audience. My expectations for the evening were high – the trek to Wolfson has to be mollified with sufficient returns of entertainment – but I was sorely disappointed. What followed was an evening littered with diagrams, props, and slapstick humour from performers whose low profiles in Cambridge can be explained simply by the fact that they are not very good.
Nish Kumar as the host was the saving grace holding this event together, so much so that his skits were funnier than the subsequent acts he introduces. The beauty of his work lies in the repartee he creates with the audience, something which the other performers can learn from. Even better wass his lexicon of contemporary political knowledge, his description of his face as a ‘Gaza strip’ – given he is ‘ethically ambiguous’, thus, people find it difficult to place him as Jewish or Muslim – was elaborated with such artful humour that it stayed with me till the end of the evening.
I tried to like the rest of the performers as much, I really did. Zoe Tomalin utilised posters to put points across about paint and colour, which, to be fair, gained her some tentative laughs from an altogether forgiving audience. Chris Page started hopefully with a ‘V for Vendetta’ joke on his own appearance, but fell flat before he reached a climax. Sadly, Page’s comparisons of Obama with Batman have been circulating Facebook as jokes for some time, making one question the originality of his material. Ben Pope followed suit by recycling old jokes from his ADC Footlights show earlier this term, except then his material was delivered with more energy and less indifference.
Ben Target was supposed to be the main act, but his material wass neither intelligent nor farcical –just plain weird. Target tromped around the audience without successfully involving any of its members, with the exception of an individual named Raphael, with whom he engaged with such embarrassing over-familiarity that I began to wonder whether Raphael was part of his comedy troupe. When things went badly, the comedian threw an amalgamation of props at people – we had cards, beach balls, and bubbles in our direction. The skit culminated in him crowd-surfing his way to the bar – something that reads as being more exciting than it actually was. The conclusion, like the rest of the show, just felt forced. Sure, these comedians are fun to look at –awkward beards, hats, and bright jumpers are all out to play – but this performance would have been better if they had actually something funny to say to go along with it.