FEATURE: Si Beckwith’s Weekly Thing | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Ben Smith at Photography North

Over the last week I’ve had some bloody lush gigs in Manchester and Glasgow. The bit of comedy that gets you the most is often the travel, though thankfully there was no megabus needed as I managed to make sure I was on with the super talented, tip-top pal and fellow South Tyneside scumbag (why are pretty much all North East comics from South Tyneside) Louise Young. These gigs, and the car journeys to and from have utterly invigorated my love for stand-up, so I’m gonna blather on full of positivity this week.

First up, Yes Bar in Glasgow is a lush gig. It’s a weekend in Glasgow but still manages to always be fun and I’ve not known it be too rowdy. Though I got a text from the promoter on the way to the gig (Viv Gee, one of the most wonderful humans in comedy) saying the bar upstairs had been broken into, so only the downstairs was open which is where the comedy is, so it may be a different kind of vibe. We were filled with dread. We needn’t have been though, the upstairs was sorted due to some awesome work from the staff, and the gig went ahead, (sadly, no early AND late show now, so just one gig per evening) and was lovely. What was most invigorating though was fellow Geordie Mike Milligan closing the show, and he seems absolutely inspired at the moment. With 25 years behind him, it’s wonderful that his appetite hasn’t dwindled and for newer comics like me and especially Louise it’s hard not to feel completely awesome about comedy watching Mike on stage having fun. Not to mention he’s a bloody joy to spend time with.

He’d taken his wife and step-daughter up for the weekend too, and it’s ace seeing an old pro (sorry Mike) still making the most of the adventures comedy offers up. Me and Louise left Mike to enjoy the Glasgow nightlife on Friday night to drive all the way back Saturday which was more of the same for another sold-out show. The car chats (and mutual bonding over a love of paedophile hunter videos on YouTube, alongside instant karma videos, road rage videos and more) led to some comedy writing, and exciting projects lined-up. I’ll stick the sketch I wrote for me and Lou that went out on this week’s Grin Up North on BBC Newcastle that I am rather proud of too at the bottom of this here article.

Stand-up comedy is a lot of weekend gigs though, a lot of club crowds who are out for a drink and big night out, and are after material that suits this. This is fine, though sometimes, comedy is different, and something utterly special. Louise and I then did Harriet Dyer’s Barking Tales night in Manchester. And fuck me was this fun. Hosted by Harriet herself, she’s possibly one of the most effortlessly funny comics I’ve ever seen and has pulled together a night themed around mental health. It was a gig with no pressure, feeling free to muck around, tell stories, with an audience who suffered from mental health issues themselves, were carers, or just wanted a safe space to laugh and have a fun night out and were totally receptive and beautiful people. This is what comedy can be at its best. Just lovely people, in a lovely room, having a laugh. It didn’t even matter that Louise took a wrong turnoff like a divvy, cost us 40 minutes, and I had to jump out the car outside the venue then pretty much jump straight on to open while she went to park up, because it was fun. I did a bit with the pictures I used from last week’s article (which is here) and being a 34 year old idiot and being rewarded for that is properly smashing.

This week has cemented that creativity is the best fun, creates unique, memorable experiences, is full of the best people and that Louise Young is a better comic than she is sat-nav follower.

You can find me on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

I’m gigging at Hilarity Bites’ night at The Pot House in Hartlepool on Thursday 11th October.

And to close it out, here’s the aforementioned sketch I did for BBC Radio Newcastle’s Grin Up North. There’s a Grin Up North live show at The Customs House in South Shields on Thursday 11th October, I’m not on it, because I’m in Hartlepool, but don’t let that dissuade you from getting your free tickets here.

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