What the hell is going on at...Fun Junkies?
A wise person was once purported to have said that variety was the spice of life and if ever there was something in need of some spice it's the formulaic stand-up comedy night. Enter the Fun Junkies, a monthly night of stand-up and music with the onus placed firmly on fun.
Hosted, this evening, by the affable Ray Bradshaw, the gig combines the best of up-and-coming stand up and musical comedy talent interspersed with enough creative segue ways to ensure every show is a unique experience.
At the top of the evening we are forewarned by Bradshaw that "once you come, you don't come back" but already this feels like the classic undersell by an MC comfortably working the small yet enthusiastic crowd.
First up is the main proponent of Glasgow Goth comedy, Damien Crow. The audience is told by Bradshaw to "smile and he'll smile back" but they seem to have been caught unawares and for the first few minutes of the set Crow is afforded a lukewarm response as the crowd try to figure him out. However it is testament to this particular audience that at no point do they turn on the performer and seem willing to participate in the spirit of the night; and boy are they rewarded for their patience! The conclusion to Damien Crow's set is a thing of beauty as he hauls an audience member on stage to audition for his Goth band.
Next onstage is Jay Bharaj, who provides an amusing musical interlude. Bharaj plays the part of the last minute replacement for a guest who didn't show to perfection. He nervously tunes his guitar before launching into an entertaining repertoire of Flight of the Conchords-esque smooth jazz with tales of inept attempts at awkward seduction.
One of the most interesting parts of the evening that serves to set it apart from other comedy shows is The Crazy Comedy Charity Challenge, which this month is taken up by David Connor. The concept of the challenge is that each month a comedian must complete their set whilst performing under adverse conditions. Bradshaw informs us that previous challenges have included him having to consume chillies whilst performing his set, so the broken exercise bike Connor is asked to pedal seems an altogether tamer task. Tamer yes, but no less entertaining as Connor puffs and pants his way through some smart jokes, all for the benefit of a project in Africa. The altruistic angle is a nice touch to a very enjoyable segment.
The headline slot is taken by Edinburgh-based sketch group The Colour Ham who combine sharply observed comedy sketches with sleight of hand magic, hypnosis and Derren Brown style illusions. They are indicative of the type of act that can be expected at The Fun Junkies; fresh, different, talented and, most importantly, very funny. A wonderfully crafted hypnotism sketch and a foul-mouthed recreation of Gaelic children's show Dotaman are the definite highlights and a perfect way to cap off the night.
One thing missing from the evening was the presence of the resident sketch group How Do I Get Up There? Indeed, had they been up there it would've surely provided the icing on the cake. However, one thing is certain; you'll take Bradshaw's words at the start of the night with a pinch of salt. You will be back. In fact, you might just end up hooked on fun; a fun junkie, if you will.