CARL Hutchinson brought his ‘Learning the Ropes’ show to The Lowry in Salford last night (May 11). Quays News entertainment reporter Coral-Jade Daniels went along…

Learning the Ropes was the perfect combination of anecdotal humour and wit; with a side of silliness. It was a comedic journey that carried on building throughout the set, from what started off as a few chuckles from the crowd into full on cackling after the interval.

The first half of the show was made up of short sets from supports Anthony Young and Rahul Kohli, with a mix of stories from Hutchinson. Starting with his time as a maths teacher in Manchester and how he inappropriately dealt with a class clown and what it took to get him to do a charity bungee jump in Middlesbrough.

Young was first to take to the stage, commenting on how he looks like the love child of Johnny Vegas and Ricky Gervais, as an introduction.  He swiftly moved onto quizzing the audience about who has children and how he tries to tell age appropriate jokes to his nephew and godchildren which turned into a dark superhero related punch-line.

Young’s source of humour appeared to stem from his real life experiences whether that be working in a call centre or taking a speed awareness course. He spoke of how he recently married on Independence day and the irony of it, given his loss of independence, and how his honeymoon was nearly ruined by everyone’s children, which linked back nicely to his earlier questions and witty responses. He had the audience with him the whole time as he moved from each anecdote to the next – up to where he welcomed Kohli to the stage.

Kohli’s set’s reaction was not met with the same enthusiasm as Young’s, but perhaps that is because of his gallows style of humour, in the way he tackles current affairs like terrorism and racism, were potentially a bit risqué.

The biggest response came from a tale from his youth, with his Granddad’s response to a racist remark from a passer-by, when Kohli was five, which linked back to his previous comedic mentions about people from India and Pakistan not getting a long.

His jokes seemed a bit hit-or-miss on the audience, although he was funny, it probably would have gone smoother if he were to come on before Young. Hutchinson would be next to steal any laughs left in the room with his interesting set.

Rahul KohliThe first part of Hutchinson’s set seemed a bit chaotic jumping between topics and crowd banter taking him away from his script. Despite this it was funny, so long as you could keep up with the original theme of work to the annoyance of people who always post motivational quotes on social media and people who make you ill and refuse to take the responsibility for passing it on to you.

The other dominant theme was getting older – with the awkwardness of his first prostate examination. This was the theme that would run into the second and more humorous set of the night, which was the ‘Learning the Ropes’ one from the tour title, which demonstrated he had not yet left his teaching days behind him, as he used a PowerPoint presentation, to enhance the humour and our understanding as an audience.

This side of the interval was much slicker and seemed to be more enjoyable not only for the audience but also for Hutchinson too, who hid his face in embarrassment a few times, one of which was him trying to fix the remote for the slides.

He got the audience more involved too by harnessing Twitter to find out their ‘proud moments’, as he would now  focus on the rather morbid idea that he had not done much with his life apart from stand-up and loving wrestling, in what he called a possible quarter life crisis, which he displayed on a tomb stone under his name.

Carl HutchinsonThis was the moment his inner geek shone and wrestling became the main agenda. He educated us on how the persona’s of wrestlers develop with photos from some of the big names like the ‘Undertaker’ and tried to convince everyone that it was not as fake as expected. He proved this with a few video montages of him training to be a professional wrestler, at the club he now goes to, where he got knocked out by a 15-year-old, amongst other injuries.

He showed us how he has begun to develop his own persona through his costume choices, which left people gasping for air in their own right, and his ‘fight talk’ that he practiced on a random audience member, who gave it back to him too! All of which led up to his first match and finding his tiny name on a professional wrestlers poster for a match he will take part in from September, which meant he could leave us with one more achievement added on the tomb stone.

All in all it was night full of laughs, whether that be at the comedians or with them, they pleased the crowd and Hutchinson proved he can stand his ground in comedy on his own instead of supporting the bigger names.

By Coral Jade Daniels

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