Happy Birthday The Stand
By Adam Clery on October 30, 2012 in Stage
I’ve always felt that birthday are a bit like snot – the more of them you have, the harder it becomes to breathe. That said though, every once in a while they’re still worth celebrating, and ne’er has that been truer than this past Monday night when Newcastle’s warm and loving home of live comedy, The Stand, managed to light what is hopefully the first of many candles.
It’s been quite the year for them as well. The first 12 months for any business is fraught with perils and problems but thanks to terrific evening of national, international, and especially local acts, the place is starting to become a solid bedrock for the region’s entire comedy circuit en masse. So, to commemorate one solar orbit of hilarious hi-jinks, we’ve asked some of our more lol-fluent writers to share their highlights from the venue.
Words: Andrew Dipper
I really loved Peacock & Gamble’s show at The Stand a few months ago. Their new show’s about how celebrity culture encourages silly bastards to do just about anything to get on telly – and how Peacock & Gamble are those silly bastards. Intelligent, silly and proper funny.
If you’ve not seen them before, they follow the basic double-act dynamic: Ray Peacock, who’s released some brilliant podcasts over the years, plays the clown with a licence to muck about – and try it on with the ladies; while Ed Gamble, with one or two exceptions, is the straight bloke. Their comedy’s really quite left-field; very non-conformist. Couldn’t recommend them enough. It’s the kind of quality you come to expect from comedians playing The Stand. Happy Birthday you lot!
Words: Carla Washbourne
‘By far the greatest thing I have borne witness to at the Stand this year was Robin Ince doing his Happiness Through Science show. Whilst a stand-up set based on physics, philosophy and the nature of scientific enquiry doesn’t sound like everyone’s perfect night out, Ince delivered his joke-facts with such wide-eyed wonder that you couldn’t help but be carried along by his enthusiasm.
Never before have I laughed or learnt so much in two hours. I’m ashamed to say that I wasn’t a regular before this point, but this inspirational nugget partaken in this heckle-free comedy womb totally melted my heart.’
Words: Michael Park
Despite taking an immediate dislike to me and my penchant for asking the “tough” questions that so “desperately” need answers, Henning Wehn’s performance at The Stand is definitely my personal highlight of The Stand’s first year in Newcastle.
The German Comedy Ambassador takes the stereotype that Germans aren’t funny and smacks it headlong into the past where it belongs. Blending satire, social commentary and some downright cruel jokes about other nationalities served only to show how blessed the Stand’s audience was that night. A show that built as many barriers as it deconstructed and that planted seeds with every bit of ground that it broke, this was undoubtedly the best show I caught at The Stand this year.
Words: Tony Jameson
I feel very honoured and humbled to have been selected as one of the resident comperes for The Stand Newcastle. In the past year, there’s been some incredible nights.
I was fortunate enough to have played the venue on the opening weekend and, I’ll be completely honest, it blew me away. Having played Edinburgh and Glasgow, I knew that this venue would be fantastic as well, but I’ve never played a venue as loud as I did on the opening weekend. It’s nights like that that remind you exactly why you do this job.
I think the first weekend I compered will always live long in the memory. Firstly, as it was my first weekend compering for a club I love dearly. Secondly, its on my doorstep, so was first to see our locals ‘get’ The Stand. Finally it was just amazing to see so many people coming out and enjoying a great night of comedy without stags, hens, office parties, etc.
There’s been some amazing nights. I hosted Stewart Francis and Friends when he performed his tour show, and that was a great feeling. Naturally, the audience hadn’t paid to see myself or John Scott, but they were an absolute joy with us. Even though The Stand Newcastle is only one year old, it’s certainly on the right path to becoming the best venue in the country.
Words: Mark Grainger
Unless you’re very unlucky or have had your funny bone extracted via invasive surgery, the chances are that any night that you head to The Stand you’re likely to have your comedy boat floated. Whether or not every performer is to your taste, the calibre of the acts is such that you’ll never head to the last metro/big market disappointed. Sometimes however, you have to embrace the madness to get the most out your time there, as I discovered whilst rather tensely perching myself on the last seat left in the room. The seat closest to the stage.
Cursing my companion under my breath (it was totally her fault we were late) I awaited the inevitable piss-taking, and I wasn’t disappointed. There was plenty of piss-taking, yes, but there are times in life where you just have to skip out of the frying pan, burn your arse on the fire and land in a front row seat in a comedy club or else you’ll spend your days lurking at the back of the room like the weird uncle at a wedding.
If you’re still unconvinced, let me add that I also ended the night having received an on-stage high five from James Dowedwell, an unceremonious marriage orchestrated by Susan Morrison, and a fucking chomp bar kindly donated by Biscuitz. Believe me there aren’t many nights out where I can cross all three of them off my list. Long live The Stand.
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