The Rose and Crown is an awesome pub that always seems to have something going on, be it theatre, comedy, live music, and even art installations I believe. It's a little known fact that E17 is actually an artistic haven, despite the unfortunate association with a certain boy band. Just check out these guys for a taster of what it has to offer.
Anywhoo! It seems that E17 and the surrounding areas are also a hotbed of aspiring comedy talent, clearly I already knew this, care of the lovely Oggers, but it was really excellent to see so many people turning out for the opening of a new night. There were plenty of acts, but more importantly there was also plenty of audience. I've been to quite a few nights where, at least at the start of the evening, acts outnumber the audience...and even a couple of nights where the night was cancelled due to no audience whatsoever, which is a shame for the acts who've travelled out to perform. These evenings usually end up very drunken....why waste a good evening in a pub eh?
Jo did absolutely famously with her brother set at this gig, she stormed the night as far as I, and a few others whom I'll come onto later, were concerned. I've noticed a pattern, Jo does really well when she faffs around with the set a bit and ad-libs in front of alien audiences. I mean, new audience, not an audience of aliens, because that would just be weird. Take Monkey Business, Giggling Gibbon, and last night. All nights Jo has never done or doesn't do often, chances are they've never seen the set and she blows them away. I think with nights like Party Piece it can be a bit foreboding because you're wondering just how many people have seen this set before, how can I make it a bit different, and also, a sense of complacency can set in, it's too familiar.
From my point of view it was great because she threw bits in that I hadn't seen before, Linda pissed herself laughing and the audience really enjoyed it, especially the Guinness banter!
MORE NEW NIGHTS JO!! WE WANT MOAR MOAR MOAR!
Now, when we'd originally walked into the pub, Jo elbowed me and whispered 'Did you see Billy from Eastenders is in the pub?!'
I hadn't, for I am blind, but when we came back down into the pub proper I saw him with his mates, chilling with some drinks. No one was bothering him, but you could see people clocking him and doing a double take. We perched on a table nearby and stole glances every now and again, trying to be cool and subtle like everyone knows we are.
As the time for comedy approached more people started wandering upstairs to take their seats and...lo and behold, Billy (as we knew him at this point) and Co. got up to take their seats in the comedy audience.
Jo was playing to celebrity....Oh Em Gee
As I've already described, Jo stormed it, and during the break as we wandered past, 'Billy' grabbed her attention and started telling her how fantastic her set had been and that he'd peed himself laughing (actual words? Not sure). He then introduced Jo and I to his mates, shook our hands and introduced himself as Perry, which was a relief, I didn't want to accidentally call him Billy like the lameass I am.
The more Guinness I drank, I started to refer to him as Perry Mason...only to Jo thank gawd. It's clearly the only Perry reference I have stored away in my brain, and these things do tend to just pop out of the memory banks at inappropriate moments.
During the second half I was afforded the dubious pleasure of being invited onstage to punch a large comedian in the stomach, which I did with relish and glee. He'd dropped his codpiece earlier in the set and was clearly paranoid that I was going to miss and mash his testicles. I could see the fear in his eyes. If I was being given this opportunity I was going to make the most of it, so I didn't pull my punches (get it?). There was an audible 'oooooooh' from the audience as I walloped the fine fellow, and let me tell you, that gut was made of rock, my hand actually hurt a little bit afterwards.
After the show Jo and I faffed around a while, and as the night wore on and there were less and less people around, Perry and Co. invited us over to sit with them. I'm ashamed to admit that I have forgotten the lovely lady's name, though I seem to recall Julie or Julia maybe? I'm awful with names, that's clearly wrong, but I'm reasonably certain that his best mates name was Phil. Thus began a long, slightly drunken conversation about comedy, with the group lavishing Jo with the utmost praise and adoration. Jo's a bit like me in that she doesn't accept compliments well, and at some points she looked completely embarrassed which was very sweet.
I spent most of this time eyeing up a biscuit that was sitting on the table.
I also managed to resist asking for a picture to put on my blog. After we'd been so cool about the situation and managed not to mention Eastenders ONCE, I didn't feel I could turn around and expose myself for a gibbering star-struck FOOL of a woman who wanted to put what would probably be a rather poor photo of him up on tinterwebs.
I should have taken a photo of the biscuit!
We have pride...we managed to get home before we celebrated our new status as 'celeb' friends. Fab evening, and we learned that not all telly actors are vain knobends, Perry was the sweetest bloke!
Who ever knew basking in Jo's reflected glory could be so much fun?