What do you get when you cross Autism, inbreeding, Auschwitz, and sex?
The hilariously unapologetic material of Salford Uni’s Comedy Society.
For two hours on a cold November evening, the SU’s ‘Atmosphere’ Bar and Cafe opened its doors to some of the universities’ funniest students as they heated the air with their gag-worthy comedic material that left most of us feeling rather flushed…
As with many small events like this, the night started slow; with fewer people than expected arriving to fill up the floral seating provided. But gradually, as the determined comedians invited flocks of unassuming drinkers from the neighbouring room, the crowd began to thicken, and the show could go on.
As though to set the tone for the night, the first joke came from second-year, James Allen in the form of a childishly playful anecdote about a ‘saucy’ night. This then quickly and cleverly descended into British politics (which basically lives to be mocked nowadays), before ending on a high where he subtly mixed up Star Wars with Star Trek; conjuring geekish chortles from every corner of the room.
This diverse formula of sex, racism and self-deprecation continued all the way up to the interval, where I spoke to organiser, and student comedian at the University of Salford, Scott Cartwright.
“You’ve got to make them want to laugh.” – Scott Cartwright
After the audience had rested their face and stomach muscles during the interval, the show continued with increasingly tongue-in-cheek material from the likes of Mo Rahman, who pushed political incorrectness into unknown depths through a string of successful gags about terrorism, racism, and missing children.
What I’m sure many of us watching didn’t expect was that a fair few of the acts had either never performed stand-up before, or had only ever done a few gigs. And although notes had to be occasionally summoned in times of limelight desperation, and a few jokes failed to hit their mark, the atmosphere in the room was at a constant high and there was no pressure or tension in the room whatsoever.
This pressure exists elsewhere in the form of Manchester’s Frog & Bucket, which holds the Hunger Games of comedy known as ‘Beat the Frog’, where audience members pick and choose which acts stay on stage depending on how funny they are. This is both feared and revered in the local comedy community, and it’s a place that many amateur comics in and around the area strive for as a big stepping stone for their careers. Alumni include John Bishop, Jason Manford, as well as over a dozen lesser-known comedians who braved the competition and came out shining; and I have no doubts that some of those we saw last night on that small bar stage can do the same.
If you’re interested in other places to enjoy comedy, here’s a map of the most popular comedy clubs and bars in Salford and Manchester.
Images are my own.
I settled on the idea of the Comedy Café as it was located near to me at the Student Union and so was easily accessible. It was also led by students and so I thought would be of interest to other students, making it more of newsworthy topic if it wasn’t so already. I sourced the content from numerous Facebook pages that the organisers posted on; including the Official Peel Park Quarter page because this was the platform that the group mainly advertised the event on. I then contacted the organiser, Scott Cartwright and asked if I could get a quick interview from him, to which he agreed. In this post, I represented the interview as a YouTube video, filmed from the iPods and tripods. The main issues I found was that I struggled to edit and upload the YouTube video, and struggled to think of appropriate data journalism. (149 words)