Friday, December 08, 2006

The Reckless Moment

The Reckless Moment

Leamington Garret. Leamington Spa has a wonderful little comedy club called The Reckless Moment. It is run by students who attract a remarkably strong line-up of professional (or semi-professional) turns and only charge the punters a quid on the door.

It is 13 months now since I closed Joe's Comedy Madhouse – London's, and probably the UK's, craziest comedy club – after eight unforgettable years.

After that I suspected I would rarely again visit comedy establishments.

But espying a sign for a comedy club called The Reckless Moment – even on a Monday night when I was dog-tired from having risen at 5am to get up to Leamington from the South Coast – I could not resist.

I was amazed to find that the club, in the vaults at the Robbins' Well in the 'well rough' end of Leamington, was populated with old mates.

Punmeister Gary Delaney (pictured left) is a regular there. He now lives in Leamington, having apparently quit the converted lock-up that he used to inhabit a stone's throw from my house in Stoke Newington, London N16.

My dear friend Andrew O'Neill appeared during the current season. I had not seen Andrew since this year's Edinburgh Fringe where I reviewed his show Winston Churchill Was Jack The Ripper (see Edinburgh Nights. It was great to see him and I was impressed by how great his straight stand-up set now is.

I was also stunned the other Monday to be rounded on by Anthony Miller, who cut his comedy teeth at Joe's Comedy Madhouse performing weird songs about molluscs.

Now he is much more mainstream, even attempting some interaction with the audience. He certainly managed to embarrass me by revealing to a packed room of students my past as the Catholic Church's King of Spin in England and Wales.

The Reckless Moment is run by compere Tom Hughes, who looks disturbingly like Jack Black (JB) from the awesome new movie Tenacious D with his baby face, wrestler's bulk and mop of brown hair. He is assisted by his housemate 'Pete the Meat' – a highly intelligent carnivore. Against all odds, they are the stars of the show!

The acts can also be wonderfully quirky, such as Ivan the deranged hospital radio presenter, or the bloke who stripped down to his knickers and cowboy hat with hardly a line of (comedy) material to support his new character act.

Their courage certainly reminded me of the oddball new acts I used to promote at Joe's Comedy Madhouse, such as Daniel Kitson, Jimmy Carr and the Comedy Terrorist.

Tom Hughes carries his MC-ing by sheer dint of personality (and probably has a bright future in comedy) while Pete the Meat entertains by eating large plates of exotic meats (generally venison or offal). This may not sound funny but combined with music and a running commentary, it is hilarious.

Pete also rounds off the show by reappearing having donned a celebrity mask to butcher one of their hits. On the last of the run, it was Prince doing Purple Rain.

Superb stuff!

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