I finally made it down to Manchester Comedy Festival on Tuesday night to see Mick Sergeant’s I used To Build Ships. Lee Fenwick’s former shipbuilding Geordie character comedy creation dubs himself as “a fearless comedian, playwright, bodybuilder, artist and erotic fiction writer”. If you haven’t seen any of his shows yet I suggest you do. This must have been around the sixth time I have seen this comedian, having first spotted him around 2008 where he was playing as part of Eurocultured Festival on the rooftop of Space. That initial show was a winner and for a comedy fan it has been great to see this character develop. The tragedy of the character is the sense of his diminishment and inability to let go of his former glory days as a shipyard worker before redundancy struck and his wife Donna ran off with another fella. This new show brought us a megalomaniac version of Musical Chairs (which my mate Dave and I got to participate in), his intention to go on X Factor with his version of Girl’s Aloud’s Love Machine, his particular take on the biblical Footprints and Mick Sergeant’s own comic creation The White Chris Rock. He entertained us in the cosy top room of the Lass O’Gowrie and at the end of the show invited us to join in a rallying cry of “I’m Mick Sergeant. I used to build ships!”
I ventured down again to The Lass on Wednesday night to catch the final of The Comedian of The Year competition, and was particularly taken with two new acts: Sir Reginald Tweedy Duffer and Karl White.
Sir Reginald Tweedy Duffer is a rather timely creation of an old school Conservative MP who is trying to get down with the kids. His favourite band is The Beastly Boys and he believes “one must fight for the right to have a party”. Karl White puts one in mind of an older, creepier version of Napoleon Dynamite. Both are well worth a look. Many congratulations to Helen Keeler, often to her chagrin introduced as Helen Keller, for winning, the only woman who made it to the final heat. If you’ve not been to any of the festival yet yourself you must get your skates on as it finishes on November 2nd.