Funny Fuel,1st Anniversary Show at Fuel Rock Club
Comedy is a challenging business. A saturated market, with everyone convinced that they can do what Michael McIntyre can do and make a fortune from being funny. And I don’t think he’s that good. With TV shows always pushing the so called ‘cream’, it’s unsurprising that at the lower end of the scale, thousands slog away trying for the break, or maybe sometimes, just doing it because they enjoy entertaining. I think they are all nuts. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than trying to make people laugh on tap. So full marks to fellow Musipedia scribe and all round excellent human being Paul Scoble who has been running Funny Fuel for one year. Yes, that’s 12 months of comedy in Cardiff’s premier rock bar. With free entry and a range of talent that ranges from side splittingly funny to stunning in its hopeless naivety, Paul has cajoled and bullied (no, Paul wouldn’t do that) a range of acts to perform. With free entry, and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s an evening that can be and should be attended.
I’m embarrassed to admit that this show was my first time at Funny Fuel. It won’t be my last. Five acts, six if you count Paul’s musings as host, over two and a half hours. Great stuff. So, who did we see and what did we find out? Well, opening the evening was James Dunn (7), a porky funster from Newport who started strongly, with some decent material, before fading on the last few minutes. To be fair to James, he was given a lengthy opening slot and maintained the laughter for most of his set. After a brief break, the hysterical Fazil Darren (8) deservedly brought applause and belly laughs galore with his set. Full of crappy old jokes which were delivered in a zany style. Using several props, including a bed of nails, this was a routine which had clearly taken much thought, and which was worth attending for on its own. I haven’t laughed so much for ages. Not so much for the next two slots. Luke Courtman (4), a local lad was delivering only his third set and was gripped by nerves, his set punctuated by swear words as he tried in vain to remember his routine. Luckily the poor bastard only had a few minutes and he was relieved to be able to get off the stage. Practice makes perfect. The final support was Penny Matthews (6), who had potential and some promising material, albeit rough around the edges. Penny soldiered through her set, with the nerves again evident.
However, the headliner made the evening fully worthwhile. Darren Masterton’s Return of the Seagull (9) was every bit as bizarre as Paul had promised. Dressed as a seagull in a smoking jacket, Masterton’s Geordie accent somehow fitted perfectly as his 30-minute slot whizzed by. His ability to handle an incredibly annoying and not very good heckler was applauded and having put up with “creepy Al” for 10 minutes or so, finally snapped and told him quite correctly to fuck off. He was joined by most of the audience and the atmosphere was much improved when “creepy Al” did indeed crawl back to the bar. An absolute tosser with no social awareness (Al not Darren). With plenty of improvisation and deviations from his set, Masterton’s set was genuinely funny if slightly disturbing at times.
I would recommend a night out at Funny Fuel. Paul works very hard to keep it running, and as is usual in comedy, the slightly chaotic approach is part of the attraction. The next event is planned for September, so check Facebook for details and get along to enjoy an evening of free and funny entertainment.