REVIEW – Comedy Night @ The Piggy Bank, Calne – Tuesday 31st January 2023

What’s Funny About Tuesday Night?

Andy Fawthrop

You know how we’ve previously moaned on and on (and on) on these pages before about the lack of comedy in D-Town?  Well – guess what?  No – there’s still a yawning gap where the comedy should be in our lovely town.  But we continue to live in hope.

So, instead, desperate for a few laughs on a dark Tuesday night, I made my way to the slightly less lovely town of Calne.  And more specifically to The Piggy Bank micro-pub in the centre of town for their first ever Comedy Night, presented by Stroud-based Crazy Bird Comedy Club.

The place was absolutely packed, being a sell-out well before the night, and people were in place long before the show started in an effort to get a good seat.  It didn’t really matter, as the place is quite small, so every seat in the house was a good one – and that included Yours Truly, doing a shift behind the bar to help the guys out.  And a busy old night it was.

Our MC for the evening was the affable Jon Pearson (described as the best MC in the Midlands, whatever that means), who proved to be a great foil for a lively audience that was definitely up for it.  Although it’s become almost standard practice these days for comedians to gently take the piss out of the town they’re currently playing in, it was more than entertaining to witness Calne being put to the verbal sword for a change.

First up was Joe Wells, a hunk of a man, who was an immediate hit with the audience.  His routine was basically, with many digressions and plenty of raucous audience interaction, a riff on his own autism (or “neuro-divergence”), wherein he took the interesting line of sympathising deeply, in a maximally patronising way, with those who are, sadly, non-autistic.  Great stuff.

After a decent interval, and some more audience-rapping from our MC, it was the turn of the diminutive Julia Stenton, describing herself as a “bad case of adult acne”.  Some nice observational sketches followed, with material that was both hilarious and near the bone (but without ever resorting to the poor comedian’s escape-clause of sheer crudity).  Another class act.

And finally, onto our headliner Nick Page.  Here was a big guy who was comfortable on the microphone, relaxed and unhurried, knowing how to play the audience, riding the laughs and timing his pay-offs perfectly.  His material on the benefits (or otherwise) of having children was exquisitely judged.  Bang-on comedy in my book.

And then we were done.  Four acts and, to my comic tastes at least, four absolute winners.  You can’t say fairer than that.  So, ten out of ten, and well done to owners Malcolm and Karen Shipp for having the vision, the energy, and the determination to put this show on.  And proving, yet again, that there’s definitely a taste for live comedy.  Let’s face it – there can’t be very much to laugh about in Calne, so they really, really needed this.  But the gauntlet has now been thrown down to anyone in D-Town who fancies getting some regular comedy nights going again.  Please?  Someone?

The next Crazy Bird Comedy is at The Piggy Bank later this month, Tuesday 28th March, featuring MC Harvey Hawkins, and comedians Jethro Bradley, Samantha Day and headliner Andrew Bird.  Tickets are already flying out of the door, but if you’re quick there’s still time to bag yourself a great night out with a great atmosphere and some great craft beer.


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