Popcorn Comedy celebrated its first birthday at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, inviting over 300 people to party with Doc Brown, Graham Linehan, and Adam Buxton, plus a selection of the best comedy videos around.
Video-wise, we were completely spoilt. There was so many crackers that I’ll have to give you a quick round-up. The Ramsey Bros’ ‘Hitchhikers Guide to Murder’ was a really well-written sketch about manic hitchhikers and psychotic lift-givers, that built to a satisfyingly absurd ending. Tom Basden provided a knock-out song about accidentally killing someone with a champagne cork. And RickYune’s ‘Lad Culture’ got the proper nawty laugh it deserved, turning Ray Winstone’s abusive husband into a WKD ad posterboy. Brilliant.
But the video star of the night was easily ‘Kitty is a very bad mystic’ by Klaatu42, which is simply a cat that talks. I don’t know why, but it got everyone in the room going and more than tickled a certain Mr Linehan. I’ve probably forgotten some, I was laughing too much.
Doc Brown was the first live act of the night, and I’ve got to say, he set the tone for the night. He strode on, oozing confidence, and gave us a bit of background. Doc had always wanted to be a rap star. In fact, he became a rap star. But, he told us, he still held onto that ‘middle class’ sensibility. Enter ‘Rap 101′, Doc’s own rap which translates hip hop lingo for the uneducated. His timing and flow are perfect and his beats are good, and this is key to doc’s comedy. He’s a great rapper, and that only makes his clever, hilarious and well-observed insights even funnier. Doc also exceeded himself with a new video about his hip hop hand gestures, which had me near to tears with a gag about a teapot. This guy’s going all the way.
After another great video section, it was Graham Linehan, of Father Ted and IT Crowd fame no-less, to take a stab at stand-up. Now I didn’t expect a stand-up performance from Graham, so it was good to see he’d gone for the inspirational lecture style for tonight’s show. Graham had picked out his favourite videos to prove that anyone can make comedy gold without having ‘a foot in the door’ already. Overdubbed religious films, inspired photo sets and keenly-crafted spoofs were both funny and proved his point. And as for The Superbroker Shuffle, well, just Google it. You won’t regret it.
The bar had been set pretty high for Adam Buxton, minus long-time partner in crime Joe Cornish. As he came on, bearded like Captain Haddock, I had my doubts as to whether he would pull it off. suffice to say, I was proven wrong. Big time. Adam is a naturally funny guy. he could talk unprepared in a room of former-accountant nuns that had recently been laid off and bring the house down. He showed a couple of his brilliant self-produced clips, and did live versions of a couple of older sketches including a jungle song about Pixar’s Ratatouille and a rendition of NWA’s Fuck the Police re-edited for the school run. It was all impressive stuff, and then my mind was blown. Adam broke through several meta-levels by reading the Youtube comments under his Fuck the Police video. I won’t even attempt to explain why this was so funny, but I can assure you, I couldn’t breathe by the end of it. Bravo, sir!
So happy birthday Popcorn. Same time next year?
Words: Ian Ravenscroft of Dice Productions