The Camden Crawl isn’t just about bands. The afternoons are packed with all kinds of entertainment: hip hop karaoke, art history, quizzes, hula hooping (no, really) and lots and lots of comedy.
We started Saturday at the Enterprise, watching the spoken word collective Homework on a day trip from their usual home at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Ross Sutherland, one of our favourite poets, made us piss ourselves with laughter as he described taking a piss on the London Eye; he was followed by funny and cringemaking stories from author Katy Darby and comedian Tom Clutterbuck. We could happily have stayed all afternoon and watched Nikesh Shukla, Joe Dunthorne and Jon and Joel Ronson, but we had other places to be.
Crack Comedy have clubs all over town and offered a taster at Camden Rock. We missed sketch trio Jigsaw after a line-up switch, arriving in time to learn more about Michael Fabbri’s penis than we thought possible without actually, you know, seeing it. Yet he did very well to keep his set feeling appropriate to the 3.30pm timeslot – an impressive feat for someone suffering a spectacular hangover.
Next it was onto the Camden Head, AKA the hottest room in NW1, for Lolitics. Chris Coltrane runs this monthly night for people to try out political material and various methods of smashing the Tories (comedians tend to be left wing). Nick Doody cleverly pushed at the limits of acceptability, yet the best part of his set was his demonstration of explaining Button Moon to a Frenchman. He was followed by Nick Revell, similarly politically furious but more laid back, perhaps because of the former weed habit that he touched on at various points. The highlight of his 20 minutes was an excellent deconstruction of a Pontefract pub fight by way of philosophical and classical-based disses.
Knock2Bag took over the Black Heart with so many comedians we had to squint to read the tiny font on the line-up. Another Nick, Nick Sun, was first up. A slow burner, he won over the room with a mixture of surreal flights of fancy and experience of depression. Unicorns and suicide: it works surprisingly well. Even more of a slow burner was “Mike North”, a council worker from the provinces, first time on stage, nervous and quite dull. Deliberately dull, it turns out, as it gradually dawned that this was actually Colin Hoult working out a new character. Mike could be worth sticking with, as the baffled crowd started to root for his increasing desperation by reflecting the catchphrase “Come on Mike!” back at the stage – in encouragement or sarcasm, it wasn’t easy to tell. The day finished off with that physical embodiment of mania Phil Kay, who improvised a rather brilliant song about a radiator, but we still feel we should issue a warning not to watch him if you’re already feeling a bit tired.
There was more comedy on Sunday, but at this point we have to shake our fist at the boat that struck a railway bridge and made it impossible to get back to Camden. Had that not happened, we’d have been telling you about 99 Club regular Matt Green, a sliver of Get Comedy and Thom Tuck and The Beta Males doing some Really Lovely Comedy. Damn you, boat.
Nick Sun. An original
Photo from The Camden Crawl photo by Olivia Frayman