The latest of Dan Clark’s occasional night of comedy and music, Clarks, took place last night at the legendary 100 Club in London. Luckily for us, 2 of our intrepid reporters were there to cover proceedings exclusively for The Velvet Onion.
Clarks is a night that consists of a few things, great stand-up, possibly some mediocre stand-up, drunks, mistakes, maybe even some accidents. Overall a fantastic night guaranteed though.
Dan Clark kicks off the night booming out his own introduction, and milking it to the max by dancing to a ‘You’re unbelievable’ instrumental. He performs a short, upbeat set before bringing out the first act; he’s obviously comfortable on this stage and in these surroundings – it’s his night afterall, and after 4/5 of them why shouldn’t he be?
The first act on stage was Pete Yohansson, who blew everyone’s minds with his Canadian cockiness. He was sharp, witty, daring and his constant theme of ‘I’m brilliant and if’ you don’t like me then f*** you’ made it hard not to adore him. George Ryegold was the next act, an older comic with a dry sense of humour, who I personally loved, although he failed to keep much of the audience’s attention, especially those at the bar. I guess it’s the price you pay for having the bar within mumbling distance of the stage. Paul Foot then graced the stage and if you know Foot you will understand how everyone’s minds were boggled but blown away as he raced through, bouncing and hopping around the stage talking about how to hide from vans (“van glasses”, obviously), shire horses, then….well, I think I would be right in saying that the last few minute of his set was just him in silence and smiling every so often. Overall, a normal set for any Paul Foot fans – and one of the highlights of the night for a lot of us there.
In the second half of the show it was apparent that everyone in the venue had made several further visits to the bar. Fun for most, but not so much for Clark as one particular girl threatened to ruin the remainder of the night for everyone by constantly yelling out for attention. This was brilliantly resolved though by the entire audience chanting ‘OUT’ until the bouncer got the message and Dan very gracefully flicked her the V’s.
After this “issue” was sorted out we were introduced to Dan’s musical interlude, accompanied by Ben Parker and his band. They sung a handful of fantastic, hilarious little songs, one about him announcing he is fine with his gay friend kissing him ‘hello’…but not in front of his mum. Another about answering the door for the gas man in a thong, and a final one translated into French after every verse specifically for one French member of the audience. Dan also very passionately belted a song telling Justin Bieber to F*** off. Everyone in the audience seemed to agree.
And so to Fielding’s finale, by which time audience beer levels were probably peaking. As such, Noel had to deal with a fair few lazy, pointless heckles: “I love you” and “Show us yer bum” are unlikely to drive any comedian to the dizziest heights of intellectual wit, but to his credit, Noel dealt with them reasonably well, attempting to weave them into his set, at one point comparing the love he felt for the heckler to the love “Pac Man ghosts feel for lychees” (i.e. not very much, I assume). There was a long list of equally as random love analogies, but I was giggling too much to remember them. Sorry.
The effect of the heckles that peppered Fielding’s performance was to interrupt the usually fluid flow of his stories, sending him off on unplanned tangents, which, while entertaining in their own right, didn’t give his set pieces the space they really need to shine. In front of a more respectful ‘comedy audience’ Fielding totally controls the room. By contrast, last night felt like a faltering, yet joyful dance between him and the crowd. Fun, but perhaps not quite what he had planned.
The last segment of the night is always one of my favourites. Clarks is never over until a great, drunken sing-a-long. In the past this has involved everyone singing along to Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ with Rich Fulcher aka Eleanor, and for his Christmas show ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’. Tonight was something different entirely; ‘Girls just wanna have fun’. One of my favourite choices so far, and I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end a just as brilliant night. All I can say is Dan Clark really does have it sussed and I look forward to Clarks returning as soon as possible. Nothing is planned yet, but fingers crossed! I’m sure The Onion team will be on the case as soon as anyone hears anything.