Six years ago to the day was our first G&B’s Nightmare Before Christmas show, an evening dedicated to comedy’s darker side. It was from the success of this night we developed our Dark Delights shows (the next one is February 22nd), a space where acts could experiment with darker comedy in the knowledge an audience knew what was in store. Good dark comedy is possibly the most difficult to hone and perfect. Too often we see young comics come to the stage with tasteless gags that they think are funny and when they get a cold response from a room they try to comfort themselves with the reassurance they’re just too real, too edgy for the crowd when in fact the act in question simply doesn’t get the artform or its discipline. Dark comedy isn’t always about crossing the line. More often it’s about getting up close to the line and with the complicity of the room pushing that line a bit further. Anyone can get up on stage and cross lines. It takes no skill whatsoever. If you got your dick out and slapped it against the microphone it’d get a laugh, but you’re not exactly pitting yourself against George Carlin’s legacy here. So nights like our dark comedy nights are a wonderful training ground for the dark side of comedy. These nights allow a different set of freedoms for acts to play with ideas that might not fit their usual sets or styles. And the night’s theme allows them to try it guilt free. All that said, there are still rules and this isn’t an excuse to head back to the 70’s.
Last night’s Nightmare Before Christmas show was easily the best one we’ve ever had. Several acts showed a delicious dark side on stage no one knew they had under those innocent looking smiles. Opening the show was the fabulous Mark Nicholas, who set the pace for the evening by opening with an incest joke…because he thought it might be relatable. And we were off…! It was then over to Billy Kerr, fireman by day, dark comic by night. Billy says he was brought up in a pretty shit area. He knew it was shit because the busiest shop on its High Street was Sports Direct. It was then over to Bas Rahman and one of the absolute stand-out sets of the evening. Bas explained just why she can enjoy certain artists where the rest of us get wrapped up in guilt. Oli Riordan then surprised us with some delectably dark stuff on how to get on the property ladder in your 20’s: be your fragile nan’s favourite grandchild. Joe O’Donovan then offered a brief lesson in trans-Atlantic linguistic differences and when a high school isn’t a high school. It was then over to Tree Bradstreet, who told the crowd she was the prize in the interval’s grab a granny raffle. This was Tree’s fifth gig and she utterly rocked it! Nativ Gigs then described his somewhat extensive gene pool, which turns out to be as diverse as a Porn Hub Christmas do. Jack Davies was after Nativ with why Michael Jackson really shouldn’t have been quite so worried about the moonlight or the boogie and bit more concerned about the fiddling. Closing the first half was neuroses (aka Robbie Fox). From worshipping at the altar of our Lord Ozzy to a live exorcism which cast out demons from the crowd, Neuroses took the crowd on a journey of crazy that in the moment all made absolute sense. Well, that’s how cult’s start, I suppose.
After the break, and a bit of old school voodoo to get things going, our first act to the stage was the deviantly dark, Elliot Curtis. Elliott reassured the crowd that regardless of how smoking hot his cat is, he’s never once tried to fuck it. It was then over to Paul Little and how to get rid of flatmates one carbon monoxide monitor at a time before everyone’s favourite cabbie, the ray of sunshine that is Doug Graves. Turns out Doug was a cabbie right from the womb as his first words were, “Come on love, you could get a bus through there!” Next was Omodara Olatunji who as a child wanted to be a Princess when she grew up. She’s not so keen now as she’s not that bothered about meeting Oprah these days. It was then over to Tom Cousins and the myth of laughter being the best medicine. Just not if you have a tiny penis…so he’s been told. Emma Richardson was after Tom with her favourite serial killer game: snog, marry, accomplice. Closing the show was the tantalisingly twisted, deliciously dark Princess of Darkness, Anthony Gilét. Now with his own flat, he loves the idea he can wank wherever he wants…just not at the bus stop, it turns out. And now lockdown is over, Anthony can get back to his recommended diet of three a day. Cock being his vitamin C. A simply awesome set to close the night on.