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Comedy Review: Chris Ramsey

23rd January 2013

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We are all lucky to be alive according to Chris Ramsey, which seems quite a deep subject for a comedy set.

But the South Shields man, who has enjoyed unparalleled success in 2012 with a sold-out UK tour and Edinburgh show, probably has reason to feel lucky. He kicked off his 2013 schedule in a dark and cosy room at the University of East Anglia in Norwich on 11th January and had fellow Northerner Carl Hutchinson join him as his support act.

Nobody in the audience was expecting or had even heard of the latter comedian, but Hutchinson’s dry wit instantly got the crowd onside and in fits of laughter with hilarious tales of his short-lived teaching career and run-ins with overzealous waiters. His use of imaginary objects was of particular personal amusement.

With the 1,500-strong crowd now sufficiently refreshed with cheap alcohol and looking jollier, Hutchinson made way for the main attraction to an encouraging noise of cheers and claps having played his part well. Ramsey started his set with a simple ice-breaker kind of game with a big fluffy dice, but unfortunately the dice landed with people who were either pretty dull or unwilling to engage in conversation with a comedian.

I was slightly crestfallen by the opening sequence, but the show went on and as it did Ramsey seemed to grow in confidence - weird anecdotes from previous stand-up gigs looked like good improvisation too. Rattling off jokes at breakneck pace, he tries to power through his set but things are a tad scrambled and he has to apologise for being quite rusty; Ramsey says it has been 17 days since his last gig. One audience member who has an incredible on-going case of the hiccups for two years actually seemed to aid and hinder him in equal amounts. When Ramsey was firing off quick-witted gags like a human machine-gun a small squeak from the teenage girl in the front row would put him off. But it also rescued him a couple of times when he looked to have hit a cul-de-sac in his diatribe. The recurring theme of how lucky we are to exist was then back up with a paraphrasing of Bill Bryson’s scientific book ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ and Ramsey followed this up by speaking of his near fatal incidents as a child and focussed on his relationship with his Dad.

By this time his set had overrun but the audience didn’t seem to notice as Ramsey leaned into the audience, emptying his mind of jokes and gaining the full attention of the whole crowd. His finale consisted of a skydive video which Ramsey had done a voice over to and related back to a recurring joke in the set.

In reflection the night was good fun, and for £8 a ticket is was good value too considering there was a quality support act alongside a rusty but undoubtedly talented Chris Ramsey.


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