Amused Moose Laugh Off
Stranded on a quiet street just a few minutes’ walk from the hustle and bustle of King’s Cross is the lovely Water Rats pub, which on April 1st – appropriately enough – hosted the first heats of this year’s Amused Moose Laugh Off. A competition which helped launch the careers of the likes of Jack Whitehall and Sarah Millican, the heats are running throughout April, in an attempt to find the best of the nation’s new comedy talent.
Each audience member is issued with a scorecard, on which they rate each act from one to ten; with the marks of the ‘proper’ industry judges carrying more weight. Big name Alex Zane was meant to be hosting this first show, but had been replaced at the last minute by the lesser-known but far more amusing Simon Feilder. The first two acts – Irish Peter Flanagan and Canadian DomPatmore – were both well-received, but it was Matthew Harrison that was the first to really make the audience howl with delight. Confident and charismatic, he took to the stage like a performer much more advanced in his career, and delivered jokes about long-term relationships and London house prices as if the topics had never been covered. Jon Long was also outstanding as the only musical act, strumming his way through songs on exercise (‘fuck jogging’) and recycling.
Of the seven acts, there was only one woman: Flora Anderson, who hilariously mocked her posh public schoolgirl persona, whilst making some very close-to-the bone observations on feminism and the cult of ‘self-awareness.’ She was the very deserving winner of the Wild Card Award, but the winner overall was Mike Cox, formerly of JAM Comedy, which played to great acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Festival. His cheerful predictions on the downfall of society – due to parents being on Facebook and dogs writing their names in Christmas cards – had the audience in stitches, with his chatty, everyman delivery surely contributing to his success.
Mike will be joining the other finalists on 11th May at the Hippodrome Casino Theatre, where – if the standard is anything like as good as this first show – the audience will get to witness some of the most talented rising stars of the UK comedy scene.
Reporter: Charlotte Couldrey ¦ @elfredabeetle