‘No Pressure To Be Funny’ – Comedy Show

On Wednesday I went to see ‘No Pressure to be Funny’ which is a live topical comedy panel show, hosted by the broadcast journalist James O’Brien. Joining James O’Brien were the creators of the show Nick Revell and Alistair Barrie.
The show focuses on a few weekly news stories and involves a panel discussion with some guests who change every week. What makes this show different from other comedy shows is that it’s not stand-up (so you won’t get picked on if you sit in the front row), it’s more satirical ‘sit-down’ comedy. Yes I made that term up myself but what it means is, it won’t leave you howling with laughter but will definitely entertain you throughout. I felt myself laughing the most when one of the panel guests Steve Griffin conducted a short musical interlude entitled ‘Parent-controlled car’. I urge you to download the podcast-which is free by the way, just for this little contribution from Steve. I won’t even try to explain what it’s all about, but highly amusing.
One of the guests on the panel was Helen-Lewis Hasteley- Assistant Editor for the New Statesman, whose tweets I always read with interest, so this was a great surprise for me. Also on the panel were Chris Neill best known from Radio 4’s ‘Just a Minute’, and Australian comedian Sarah Kendal. Sarah Kendal and Steve Griffin’s panel contribution was quite mundane and not particularly valuable. In contrast Chris Neill’s camp comedy style was hilarious even though some of the topics discussed such as energy companies was pretty dull, he bought some excitement to the panel and was the most entertaining without a doubt. Helen-Lewis Hasetely input was the most intelligent and insightful of the night. James O’Brien was delightful as ever with his witty remarks, and his down to earth nature. Although I have to say that James O’Brien’s spontaneous comments in the panel discussion were smarter and wittier than the scripted prose he read from throughout the show, and I think this is really where his strength lies. If you listen to James O’Brien on his LBC radio show, the banter with his callers and his impromptu, off the cuff comments forms the most entertaining part of his show, and is what makes his show fresh and different compared to other shows on LBC.
Inputs from the creators of this show in the form of little comical interludes really held the audience’s attention.
One of the nicest things about this show is that it’s a really small venue, The Lounge, at Leicester Square Theatre. Small venues are always better as they provide intimacy along with the opportunity to meet the writers and guests.
Overall a good night out, and I’m really glad I went. I hear Mehdi Hasan is a panel guest on next Wednesday’s show. What a shame I won’t be going! Luckily there is the podcast which I’ve subscribed to, and if you want to listen to some smart satirical banter, then this is the podcast for you.

James and me!

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