IT proved an interesting night at The Lowry on Wednesday (November 11) for Quays News entertainment reporter Misha Solanki who was in place to review comedians Carl Donnelly and Iain Stirling. Here is what happened…

An hour before the show was due to start, a major change had happened with the line up. Iain Stirling wasn’t able to make it due to other commitments so lesser known comedian Peter Brush had to step in.

Five minutes late, out walked a small – slightly nerdy looking – man, who started his set with a very awkward opener and then thanked the audience as he knows that he ‘looks like he’s not supposed to be here.’ Brush knew that he wasn’t the comedian that many of the audience were there to see, and he used that to his advantage to make jokes about it. Brush didn’t have much social interaction with the small crowd, however he did make sure that the crowd knew he had noticed that they hadn’t laughed at a certain joke. He didn’t seem to have a distinct theme that ran through the set, he seemed to jump from topic to topic with one liners to link them together. Some of the topics he made jokes on ranged from death, his new house, and how he wishes he could freeze time.

The comedian then went on to do a large piece about how health conscious he has become after he read something about ‘mouldy bread giving people cancer’ and then went on to give us an anecdote about the time he tried ecstasy for the first time – ‘I remember taking E once, I stayed up all night giving people positive feedback on eBay.’ Brush seemed to be nervous throughout his set, with the occasional stutter and very little eye contact with the audience.

He finished his set off with what he had classed as a positive personal story with a moral. He went on to tell us about how both him and his grandfather couldn’t perfect a hair style, yet at his grandfather’s funeral his hair seemed to look good. Peter then goes on to talk about how he used his grandfather’s funeral undertakers to get his hair cut. The moral of the story didn’t seem to shine through to the small audience, with only a few people tittering at the end of the joke. Peter Brush then ended his set with an equally awkward ending as his opening, with him telling the audience ‘genuinely, you’ve been fine.’

After a short break, out came the second comedian of the night, Carl Donnelly. His bright, jokey attitude brought welcome relief to the 30-person crowd, as he came out smiling and laughing. Straight away Donnelly had more interaction with the crowd than Brush. He was speaking to different people in the crowd, letting them know that he appreciated them coming out to watch him.

The comedian told the audience that he had only found out about the gig about a week ago due to a mix up with his agent. He then went on to tell the audience: ‘I’m just going to talk to you about a bunch of things,’ before moving on to the topic of his recent marriage breakdown and how he had started therapy. The comedian was very open with his life, telling those in attendance about his body dysmorphia and his ‘massive nipples.’

Throughout his set, Donnelly went through a range of different topics from talk about his awkward experiences with women – like the time he ‘spat on a copy of 50 shades of grey while trying to read it over someone’s shoulder’ – to the time he bought men’s waxing cream online. His reason for buying the waxing cream was ‘never do online shopping when you’re having a poo.’ Carl’s mix of eclectic life stories had the crowd laughing constantly, and it was nice to see a comedian who knew how to laugh at himself while entertaining his audience.

Donnelly’s interaction with the crowd meant that he would frequently go off topic from his set list. He ended up spending about five minutes talking to a member of the audience about whether Christ was Jesus’ surname or not. Throughout the whole of his set he made sure that he kept the small crowd entertained and finished off with showing everyone his self proclaimed ‘swollen nipples.’

Despite only finding out about the gig at very late notice, both comedians came out and thoroughly entertained the small crowd. Brush may have been slightly awkward, but his witty one-liners seemed to have some charm and appeal. Donnelly was a different type of comedian entirely, a joy to watch and interactive with his audience.

Someone that is definitely worth a trip out to see.

By Misha Solanki

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