The delights of a works night out...

You’ve been with the same people for eight hours during the day, then you have to suffer a little longer in the name of team bonding.

We sold some of our unused office furniture at work and decided to have a night out at the Rawhide Comedy Club in Liverpool. A meal was booked at La Tasca for 6:30pm then it was on to The Royal Court Theatre where a table had been pre-booked by our Party Organiser. The comedy club used to reside in the Central Hall, so this was it’s first night in the new, larger, venue.

I’ve always been a fan of stand-up comedians since my grandmother introduced me to an album of Billy Connolly’s many many years ago. I went to see Billy back in the eighties at the Apollo in Manchester. Then I saw Phil Coole and Jasper Carrott in Stoke, Lee Evans in Stockport and Henry Rollins a couple of times in Manchester. I don’t think that Rollins really counts as a comedian as such, he isn’t going to start saying, “Is there anyone in from Bolton?”, “Take my wife… please.”, “My mother-in-law is so fat…” etc etc. Since I do like a chuckle or three I started buying stand-up comedy videos. In fact I think that one of the very first videos that I did buy was a Jasper Carrott video. This was back in the days when people would say, “Oh! Have you got a video?” and when Woolworths only had about fifteen videos on the one rack: snooker, improve your golf, championship fishing, a comedian and about three films, all on The Video Collection label. This was back in the days when video recorders were so expensive that I actually heard of some people who wouldn’t rent videos. Their thinking was that all someone at the video store needed to do was wait until you were out so they could break in and steal the video. At the time video recorders were the size of a suitcase and weighed the same as a mini metro.

So, yes over the years I’ve accumulated many videos, and now of course DVD’s of stand-up comedians. I was quite looking forward to the evening ahead.

The Rawhide Comedy Club also serves food. If you book a table with food you get to sit near the back. The place isn’t that vast that you would need opera glasses, so this is no bad thing. If you book just a table you get to sit at tables nearer the stage. If you’ve travelled from Manchester, on a works ‘do’, and there are six of you in your party you get to sit right at the front just underneath the microphone. I knew what was coming.

Mick Ferry was the compere for the evening. It was his job to warm the audience up, not physically you understand and to introduce the acts for the evenings entertainment. This involved asking people their names, where they’re from and what they do for a living. And generally taking the mickey. Of course we were sitting targets, but thankfully two people out of our party survived unscathed.

The acts generally improved as the night went on: Simon Clayton was good, Alex Horne was better and Phil Nichol was the best of the bunch. He is quite manic to say the least and I thought Canadians were cultured and reserved. There are only two seasons in Canada: winter and six months of poor snow-mobiling. He ended his set by singing “The Only Gay Eskimo”, a song which I had heard of before, only because I had downloaded it thinking that the artist was Tenacious D. It wasn’t and isn’t. It was apparently written and sung by Corky and the Juice Pigs of which Phil was a member. Thinking about it now it seems right that a Canadian should sing about Eskimos. For the last couple of verses he dragged “Steve”, from our group, onto the stage to sing along. “Steve” was giggling so much he could barely speak. To his credit he did manage to sing the last chorus in nearly a pitch perfect falsetto. I think that he’d been practising at home.

  • Posted on Friday, 01 July 2005
  • Tagged with culture work