By Zoe Turner
This Monday evening, as a new year at Manchester Metropolitan University commenced, the Student Union (still as fresh as its students) held an event to force a grin on to the dreariest faces.
Comedy Central, a regular occurrence at The Union, brought both big names and upcoming acts to the stage. Comedian Russell Kane, who has performed on ‘Live at the Apollo’ and winner of the ‘Best Comedy Show’ in the 2010 Edinburgh Comedy Awards, headlined the evening. Kane was supported by Andrew Ryan, fresh from his performance at Edinburgh Fringe, and Marlon Davis, winner of the ‘FHM Search for a Stand-up’ competition.
Kicking the night off was the ruthless Andrew Ryan, suitably placed as the first act as he built relationships between the audience, linking jokes that he produced from the audience across his set. He effectively created a community feel within the room. The comic adapted to the student based audience, embracing colloquialisms like “bromance” and cursing thoughtlessly. Ryan’s act was the epitome of ‘banter.’
Ryan even played matchmaker, giving a couple in the first row five pounds to go on their “first drink” just before he closed the show.
Next up was Marlon Davis, whose set was a lot more focused on personal accounts. He received abundant laughter from his references to black culture and stressed that he “liked” that the jokes had gotten “racially tense.” One of his most well received anecdotes was that of his art teacher, who misunderstood his painting of a bridge as a “representation of your struggles as a black man in a white man’s world,” to which his response was, “if that gets me a first.”
Finally, Russell Kane took to the stage with all of his flamboyant energy, winning the heart of everyone in the room. People were literally choking on their drinks. Kane catered very much to his location, as first year students Elliot and Abbie agreed, saying, they had “come back” after seeing him before and observed that he “adapts to his audience.” Hence, it was social and cultural stereotypes of Mancunians Russell specifically played on. Observing the differences between Northerners and Southerners, he jested that people from Manchester seemed to be the only British people who were proud of where they came from, and imitated their Northern twang, mocking their obsession with their music by inserting haphazard Oasis lyrics mid-sentence.
From this, Russell explored British culture as a whole, demonstrating how comic our repressed and “messed up” civilisation is. Kane created a comedy out of a genuine intrigue in the way we function as a country and how this compares to others, homing in on issues from gender roles and sex education/pornography to how our first thought when we fall over is “who saw?” rather than “am I injured?” He ridiculed the trends in our culture such as irony and continually repeated the phrase “oh my god he’s so post-modern” as a hysterical mimicry of our pretence. His intelligent insights, paired with his actions and accents used to take on different personas and illustrate his points, left the crowd roaring.
The audience named Russell “brilliant”, and said that they would “definitely keep an eye on upcoming events at The Union.”
Comendy Central is back at the Union Tuesday 13th October featuring Mark Simmons, Gary Delaney, Rob Rouse and award-winning Nathan Caton. Tickets are available online or from the box office.
Zoe Turner is a second year student at MMU aspiring to write outside of her English studies. She is 19 years old and was born and raised in Staffordshire. Her areas of interest are predominantly music, literature, film and art.