Winners of the Edinburgh Comedy Award don't always have the
longest careers (whither Will Adamsdale now?) so we jumped at the first opportunity to see this year's winner Russell Kane as he played at the regular Time Out Laugh Out Loud comedy showcase.
Supporting Kane were a mixed bag of four comedians. Amused Moose Laugh-Off Award-winner Naz Osmanoglu entertained us with the ultimate in bad-taste BGT entries while last minute addition Iain Stirling's comic tales from his native Scotland showed bravura, a good sense of visual imagery and promise.
Canadian Craig Campbell was the night's low point. He spent a good ten minutes loudly ridiculing the Scandinavian accent, something that was done (and done far better) over twenty years ago, before finding it "spectacular" that Germans would be attending a comedy show (despite there being some in the audience). Not to be outdone in the casual racism stakes, compère Fergus Craig - a middle-class Essex chap - pondered how German (and later Chinese) would sound if spoken by someone from Northern Ireland. We were left wincing but none the wiser. Come back Jim Davidson, all is forgiven.
After the interval, Andy Zaltzman proved to be the coolest politics/economics teacher that we never had. With a slight detour exploring just how lapsed a Jew he was ("bacon is kosher if eaten ironically"), he savaged the Middle East impasse, British democracy and economists with insight and one-liners aplenty
From the cerebral to the sensual, Russell Kane bursts onto stage with a rush of words and movement that never lets up. This was less stand-up and more walk-around as the peripatetic comic paced back and forth throwing up observations on class, family and growing up in Enfield. YouTube clips from his TV appearances do not do Russell justice as he is at his best covering non-family friendly subjects using a swear word or twenty. To get the full effect, you would do well to see him in the flesh.
Catch comedy sets by Tom Basden, Jenny Eclair and Rob Deering at the Kings Place Festival (9-12 September).
Time Out Live's Laugh Out Loud returns on November 10 with John Shuttleworth and Scott Capurro.