Rounding off the first full year of regular comedy shows at St James Concert Hall in Guernsey they presented a double bill of comedians from ‘across the pond’ with Canadian Mike Wilmot and American Rich Hall.
Wilmot acted as warm up but, unlike most of the previous opening acts we’ve seen, didn’t rely on talking to the audience to do this. Instead, after a few local references at the start, he gave us something of an education on aspects of love in later life… in a sense at least.
With little beating around the bush the majority of his set focussed on his relationship with his long time partner and, largely, their home life and associated sexual exploits.
I got the impression that, for some, this was maybe a bit too lewd or graphic but with his relaxed and direct sensibility was hilarious and certainly left the majority of the audience in good spirits and ready for more.
After the apparently unavoidably protracted break while people recharged their metaphorical glasses (I know the reasons why and can’t think of another way around it either, but the length of the breaks between acts at these comedy events is just a little too much and often undoes the good work of the open act to ‘warm up’ the room) Rich Hall took to the stage to a warm reception.
Again beginning with a bit of local colour he quickly headed off into a rambling hour or so of stand up that spanned a little about Trump and Brexit to songs playing off members of the audience.
While he did touch on politics throughout it felt somewhat like Hall was consciously avoiding the subject (like a few recent comedy visitors) and, while this may have been judicious given the audience, possibly led to the show having a slightly too disjointed feel.
This wasn’t helped by the fact that many of the audience members he spoke to in the front row seemed less than enthusiastic about being part of the show, in one case with someone flat out refusing to cooperate which not only I imagine throws the performer but somewhat kills the atmosphere in the room too — if you don’t want to run the risk of being called on to get involved in a comedy show then you really shouldn’t sit at the front…
Despite this Hall managed to keep it all moving along ok and his songs in particular were brilliantly clever while his stories of life in Montana and the culture clashes with life in the UK provided the highlights.
As the set ended and he headed off, and then came back for an encore, he again had to contend with some challenging behaviour from the audience which, again, he handled well but it did effect his routine somewhat.
This isn’t something I’ve seen elsewhere but isn’t the first time I’ve seen it here and shows an odd level of disrespect to the performer.
Nonetheless Hall and Wilmot provided a great evening’s entertainment it would just be nice if Guernsey audiences realised that watching a show live isn’t like watching one on TV at home.