It’s not often you go to a comedy gig and get to watch an audience volunteer have their nose unexpectedly split open on impact from a thrown fruit and have to cope with the resulting flow of blood.
I wasn’t that member of the audience. I had fun.
In fairness to Mark Watson and the organisers of the 2014 Comedywealth Games this was the very same fruit throwing game from the 2012 Edinborolympics and no one got hurt in that.
The format of Comedywealth Games seems straight forward but leads to anarchy and chaos. There are three competing comedians who have to undertake four games as organised by Watson. There’s a bronze, silver and gold metal up for each.
It’s surprising how competitive some of these comedians are. We had an uncomfortably close sleeping bag race with a willing volunteer from the audience sharing with a comedian in each. Despite the bloodshed; my favourite was the fruit throwing.
There’s some luck involved here. Okay, there’s luck involved in the games but it also luck as to which comedians turn up. We attended on Thursday the 7th and lucked out. One of my all-time favourites David O’Doherty turned up to compete as well as Angela Barnes and Sam Simmons who were both new discoveries for me. Simmons seemed funny, very quirky but I’m unsure as to whether I’d be brave enough to go any of his shows. The banter between all three was good. It’s the show. Who else noticed that while Mark Watson was speaking to the crowd Barnes was throwing satsumas as Simmons’ Lyrica covered crotch?
There are some lessons from the Edinborolympics too. There are only three events on the official table and we had a fourth event to work out the second place contenders. If that doesn’t sound a lot it is because each event takes a long time to set up and run. Chaos does not give way to comedywealth sporting events easily. Mark Watson has to ensure the audience knows what’s going on. He needs to ensure the comedians know what they’re supposed to do. The event needs to happen. The results need to be worked out. Some sort of sanity is necessary before we move onto the next game. The Edinborolympics over ran and had to chop events left, right and centre. This schedule is far better. I suspect Watson can leave out the last event if needs be. It’s a good design.
It’s also worth noting that Mark Watson is a chatter box. He’s just as funny as any of the participating comedians and superb at getting the crowd involved. I wasn’t surprised to see his name and other show on the sold-out board at the Pleasance. As hilarious and cheeky as Watson can be his style of comedy isn’t one that facilitates swift progress from one game to another. The balance was right this year.
I really enjoyed Mark Watson’s Comedywealth Games even if it made me wince. I’m very glad O’Doherty turned up so I had some recognition and emotional buy-in of the competitors. One note of caution – it started some 30 minutes late and over ran. The show before, Dracula, seems to take an age to leave the building and since the Comedywealth Games last show of the day there’s not too much pressure on them to leave the building quickly.