NEW ACT FINAL 2017
WIDCOMBE SOCIAL CLUB
Well, comedy lovers, here we are at another New Act Final, hosted amiably by your genial compere Geoff Whiting, with much audience banter to keep things warm and friendly, but not so as to overshadow the ten hopeful finalists. Let’s cut to the chase: winner this year is Sunjai Arif, who certainly had the best T-shirt, too ( giant face of a guinea pig ) as well as some rodent jokes to match; and a top one-liner about child tantrums in the car, among much other cracking material from a family background more diverse than you could possibly imagine. Runner-up is Benji Waterstones ( Who avoids any mention of bookshops. He’s probably sick of that.) with some sly gags about the culture of Hull, where he’s from; and naughty jokes about his work as a junior doctor in mental health. Oh, and a surprising crème caramel stunt – not a phrase often used in a comedy review.
There is no award for third place; not, I hasten to add, because the judges don’t consider anyone worthy of it. Far from it: they found too many of them suitable and couldn’t decide. Which, since deciding is what judges are supposed to do, seems on the face of it a bit of a dereliction of duty. But I digress.
Certainly worthy of mention are Riordan DJ, Harry Potter look-alike in a jumper, with a very dry, understated approach and an array of killer one-liners; Kai Samra with a fast and energetic dissection of Lewisham street culture; knife crime; the appeal or not of Birmingham ; and Malala Yousafzai – and in no way as bad taste as that might sound; and Tom Redman, large laconic Yorkhire chap with a brilliant grasp of timing, and some great stuff about talking to your toaster, his best friend’s new fridge, and dealing with prejudice about Skegness, among other things.
Some of these people are going to go on to be famous. We’ll have to wait and see. But it’s a cert that the Comedy Festival will continue to attract talent, as it has done in spades over the last 17 days. More power to its elbow; or possibly funny-bone.
John Christopher Wood