[2014008] We’re Kind Of A Big Deal

[2014008] We’re Kind Of A Big Deal [FringeTIX]

Nick O’Connell & Joe Sampson @ Horner and Pratt

6:45pm, Fri 14 Feb 2014

It’s the first time I’ve been in Horner and Pratt as a venue, and it’s immediately reminiscent of a lot of my experiences in my first Big Fringe: the performance space is little more than a small room with makeshift bench seating on the first floor of the building. I take a seat at the back of the room – a nearby fan counteracts the humidity, and the wall provides back support. There’s a couple of Nick O’Connell’s friends (or family) in, and one wary looking couple; a clutch of young women turn up about five minutes into O’Connell’s set.

And, as the lead act in this show-of-two-halves, O’Connell doesn’t really have the big opening required to get the audience cackling early… to be fair, though, the Wary Couple (or the male half thereof) seemed to be physically unable to crack a smile. Opening with material that’d be immediately familiar to local comedy-goers, Nick engages in a bit of self-deprecation (comparing himself to Bieber, and showing off his impressive “guns”), and leverages his prime story thread: his habit of ruining his Mum’s birthday. There’s some good laughs to be found, but it feels like he doesn’t let the material breath… and his callbacks, despite seeming quite clever, somehow don’t seem to work (though the use of his strip-club material to tie it all together is pretty good).

There’s an immediate change in tone as Joe Sampson immediately gets the (growing) crowd onside – he possesses the laconic drawl of rural upbringing in his voice and material. He talks about the family inheritance – limited in his case to some kitchen utensils – before tackling (almost literally) Big Issue salespeople, and random stories about walking the Mall with his grandmother. There’s also some odd sideways references to his nature – he works at Roxby, and gives to charity.

Overall, Sampson acquitted himself as a comfortable performer on stage who lacks a little material; O’Connell felt like the opposite, nervously delivering the material he had. But whilst neither could consider themselves a Big Deal yet, it’s not hard to imagine that (with a bit more experience) they could both grow into solid comedians.

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