Monday, 30 June 2014

Quippopotamus @ Odd Bar, 03.06.14

On the first Tuesday of every month, Odd Bar in the Northern Quarter is home to a free comedy night. Taking up the top floor of the bar, Quippopotamus has been running for the past eight months, successfully expanding from nights they also run at Fuel Café in Withington. In that time, it’s become a platform for some of Manchester’s more out-there comedians.

Compèred by joint organiser Jack Evans, this month’s offering started well. It was refreshing to see Evans’ ability to bypass the getting-to-know-you awkwardness that stagnates some comedy events elsewhere; this one felt lively, casual, enjoyable and, importantly, genuinely funny. Evans worked the crowd with aplomb and his off-the-cuff humour was impressively sharp. When he and his fellow organiser Jon Whiteley played a more rehearsed half-time sketch it showed great versatility. Crucially, the pair knows what people want from an alternative comedy night, and they showed it by booking two great acts.

The first, Edy Hurst, was kind of a character-comedy bit. His enthusiastic and childlike humour won the crowd over when he picked up a guitar to give parody renditions of any James Bond song at the audience’s request.

The main act, Phil Ellis, took to the stage with a world-weary demeanour and a tragic likability that the crowd instantly enjoyed. His set seemed to be mostly unplanned mischief that the audience lapped-up. His time on the stage segued from cleverly told life stories to impromptu furniture interaction, and finished with an attempt to casually assimilate the comedic spirit of Rik Mayall as he was encouraged to digest a newspaper clipping of the recently deceased’s face. It could have seemed daft or contrived, but with Ellis’s inclusive demeanour, it became a raucous social event.

Quippopotamus works really well in its essence – a free night to celebrate alternative comedy. It’s good to see it done with a light-hearted and non-commercial approach, and a real spirit to make people laugh. Whiteley and Evans clearly love making people laugh and the night is well worth checking out.

Words & photo: Mark Hattersley

Quippopotamus is staged at Odd Bar on the first Tuesday of every month and at Fuel Café Bar on the fourth Sunday of every month.

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