Club nights are difficult to review. The line-up changes, and even if you see the same performer at the same club they may be doing different material. But we had to make an exception for Alternative Comedy Memorial Society.
Billed as a place where it’s more important to try something new and interesting than be funny every time, that might prompt sighs and weary expectations of dodgy costumes, mime and deathly silence following a particularly flat gag. But founders and curators John-Luke Roberts and Thom Tuck are wiser than that, and pick the acts with love and care. In fact, it’s amazing that what we saw of a long night of three sections (we admit, we left at the second interval. Bloody bank holiday trains) there wasn’t a single dud.
There’s a group of regulars who tend to crop up (including, and not limited to, Josie Long, Sara Pascoe, Ben Target, Bridget Christie and Alexis Dubus) and clearly a group of regulars in the audience who are familiar with the permitted heckles and call-and-response after each comic: “A failure?” calls one of our hosts. “A noble failure!” replies the crowd. It’s less cringey than it sounds, and actually cuddly fun.
Since it’s fairly pointless to talk about the actual comedians, we’ll just give you a flavour of the kind of thing that went down. There was a mime, as it happens, but it was amazing and accompanied by fantastic beatboxing. There was a piece of technical brilliance in the form of a DVD commentary voiceover – “high concept whimsy” was John-Luke Roberts’s verdict. There was a song about human rights, political activism and hummus. And there was an Easter egg hunt which involved audience members throwing plastic dogs at a man with Kinder eggs sellotaped to his shirt and crotch. None of this will happen again. But other things will.
Oh, and they also have a newsletter where you can find out where and when the next ACMS is happening, and often get a code for cheaper tickets.