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Stitches Comedy: Finally, a Gig that Lives Up to its Name

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Stitches comedy is the lovechild of Will Ainsworth and Stuart Hossack, both active members of SUSU ComedySoc and comedic geniuses in their own way. Every last Tuesday of the month, Will and Stu get together a plethora of up and coming comedians, sandwiched in-between open mic’ slots for those who simply want to give it a go, with Will and Stu playing the roles of soundmen, agents, comperes and comedians all rolled into one – sounds like a recipe for disaster, but somehow, it works.

The night in question is Tuesday 25th January. The venue, The Talking Heads. Opening the night was organisers and pioneers themselves, Ainsworth and Hossack, coming together to perform a skit that was so awkward to watch it was hilarious. Largely founded on the amusement (or not) of the classic ‘your mum’ line, the act began with Hossack whispering in Ainsworth’s ear, only for him to look downtrodden and forlorn as Hossack continued an onslaught of insults about Ainsworth’s mother. The act closed with Hossack’s following rebuttal: “You see, Will. When I came on stage and told you your Mum was dead, I was lying… I just wish she was dead…” Hossack and Ainsworth had Peep Show-esque discomfort written all over them, and although it made you want to curl up in a dark corner and die, it was truly side splitting.

Largely speaking, the rest of the night continued in this vein. Jack Yallop was a great way to continue, with his comedy being sharp and witty, and most importantly, actually quite funny. Following Yallop, was Robbie Fox, and I’m sad to say this was the only disappointment of the night. One of his (very long) gags, revolved around him quoting from a TV show nobody had ever heard of, about a space mission to Uranus. And there is only so much Uranus one girl can take…

And thankfully, Uranus was mentioned no more with the next act, Joe Edlin. Originally from Watford, Edlin has a charm about him that you don’t expect, and he was promising to say the least. Although his gags about glow in the dark condoms left me feeling a little bit flat, and his skit about football chants during sex was just a bit too long, there was something undeniably likeable about Edlin, and I enjoyed his set immensely. Following Edlin, was Tim Butcher, whose morph able face complemented his material so excellently that it sometimes felt like watching a good Lee Evans. But there was nothing silly about Butcher. His comedy was smart and sophisticated in ways that many comedians die trying to achieve, and had a confidence way beyond his years.

And succeeding Butcher, were three shining stars – Ainsworth again, Martin Talbot, and Alex Watts; three decidedly different acts, but all who left me in stitches. Between Ainsworth’s creation of a shrine to his dying self, Watts’ preoccupation with being a normal educated human being in the world of commercial book shops where Katie Price’s biography is THE definitive read, and Talbot’s employment in BBC moderation of ‘Nature Watch’, the originality and relevance of the three astounded me. They were incredible, and demonstrate the plethora of talent coming from SUSU’s ComedySoc over the last few years.

And to conclude the night, was ex-Southampton student and Cardiff man Luke Catterson. There was something sensible and well thought out in his set, which is something I never thought I’d say as a compliment. The whole skit revolved around one story of a childhood friend scoring a hat-trick for his dying Gran, and although the material digressed here there and everywhere, Catterson was still able to reel himself back in to the main hilarious, and sometimes poignant, narrative. The eldest of all the performers of the evening, he had an air of self-assurance and confidence that comes from delivering years of very funny material, without any need for it to be sexist, racist or homophobic, but just darn funny.

If tonight was anything to measure by, Stitches is sure to be a comedy night that lasts well into the future, and will indeed, leave you with your sides split. Catch their next show at The Little Theatre in Eastbourne on Friday 4th February, or the Southampton Comedy Festival 26th and 27th February.

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