David Vass reviews Corn Hall Comedy

If riffing off an audience without the safety net of prepared material is a sign of a fine compère, then Andrew Ryan is the epitome of that rare and special talent. Twenty minutes into his warm up routine, and he had barely gone beyond the front row, mercilessly dissecting the ladies from Wolverhampton, and bravely tackling the man from the RAF. It was only after Diss’s iconic chip van came into play, that he conceded a truce and introduced Amir Khoshsokhan.

Khoshsokhan is very much ploughing his own furrow, with an unnerving gift for drawing an audience into a dubious world view that, hopefully, is only an act. With a delivery that borders on the unhinged, he had the audience hanging on his every word, before delivering a punch line that evoked as many double takes as laughs.

As so on to headliner Tim FitzHigham, working a local crowd as only a local man can. Absurdist, anarchic and just a bit odd, his routine included, for no discernible good reason, drinking a pint of beer through a bugle horn before playing what was easily the worst version of Haydn’s horn concerto you’re ever likely to hear. If that’s not worth the price of admission, I don’t know what is.

By David Vass