Having been away for three weeks and not gigged for a month, my first gigs back were this weekend at The Comedy Store – which is a little foreboding and might garner some sympathy – albeit this might evaporate when I reveal that our weeks away included Namibia and Hawaii.
The Comedy Store is the barometer by which all circuit comics are judged. Technically the easiest gig in the country but also the hardest. A perfect room – basement, low ceiling, top PA with room for 500 people crammed around the small stage. The audience are excited but having paid top dollar, they are expectant also. So, the comics need to be on their toes – in my case, perhaps literally, if I want the people at the back to see me?
On Saturday and between the two shows – I find myself with 4 hours to kill and so I take myself off to the cinema. Cineworld on Leicester Square…
Stan and Ollie is sold out – but there is still room to catch The Favourite. The reviews are stellar which is normally a warning sign for me but I’ve heard good things also….
The last time I was in this very cinema was to see Avengers, Infinity Wars – happy memories then – which are not added to this evening because The Favourite ranks as one of my least favourite films I have seen in a long time.
In more than two hours, nothing very much happens beyond two characters vying for the attention of Queen Anne. Actors too often over-reaching in an achingly pretentious film – beloved only by people who are desperate to fit in. I rarely notice the film-score, but look out for the cello/piano combo that is overplayed and gates almost immediately.
A film of many genres and none, it is most commonly described as a comedy – something which I can claim some knowledge of since I am due back at The Comedy Store later – and will be required to make 500 people laugh out loud. Smiles are not enough in stand-up.
Much TV comedy is cheated these days – especially stand up. The talent on Live at the Apollo nowadays being too often in the edit suite and not on the stage.
In Cineworld for The Favourite – audible laughs are scant – and from the same two people who think it is funny when regal characters and possibly women drop the C bomb. How very modern in a period film!
I am no prude. I love Bill Burr’s stand-up. His vernacular adds to his act. It doesn’t offend me. But it is not funny in itself – not without Bill saying and being funny also. But saying C*** apparently is funny in this unfunny film and why it gets such an airing.
An hour later and on stage at The Comedy Store – no one would have been offended if I had sworn, just so long as I was being funny and people were laughing out loud.
But don’t just take this warning from me. No doubt, The Favourite will feature heavily in the awards this year – which is often a sure sign that it’s a movie for the industry and insecure wannabes only.