By Rosie Williams
When Rich Hall walked on to the stage for BBC’s Live at the Apollo at the chandelier-clad comedy venue in Hammersmith, I was a little disappointed. Before, I found the American comedian brash and slightly irritating in his trademark black leather jacket. Yet Hall stole the show with his down to earth humour and spectacular crowd interaction for his fourth Apollo appearance.
Secondary school teacher Peter was dragged up from the front row and onto the stage to perform a truly hilarious rendition of Country Rose as Hall strummed along with his guitar. He created, with the help of his new friend Peter, the only moment of the evening where it seemed the whole crowd was fully engaged with the show. His effortless ability to connect with an audience as vast as that of the Apollo is surely the sign of a great comedian.
Hosting the first show was Mock the Week panelist Andy Parsons, who introduced the celebrities in the crowd such as BBC’s news reporter Ben Brown, Alan Duncan MP and DIY SOS’s very own Nick Knowles. Yet the guest appearances of the actual show ranged from the hilarious, the bizarre to the downright bad.
The first act came from Andrew Lawrence, whose cool self-depreciating humour and references to pubic hair and flatulence left the crowd in stitches. Experienced Mock the Week guest and panel show regular Mark Watson was the first act of the second episode. His geek-chic look and situational something-for-everyone routine was delivered with an endearing honesty that made for comfortable, homely hilarity.
The final performance of the night came from the Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell. His self-assured humour is driven by stereotyping , which came across a little too smug for my liking. The queue at the ladies room towards the end of his set didn’t seem overly impressed either.
Milton Jones, who strolled on to the stage to the tune of Ghost Town wearing a psychedelic shirt paired with dull grey trousers and brown suede shoes, was hailed as the ‘master of the one liner’ by Andrew Parsons. His slightly unusual look and uneasy stance matched his comedy style perfectly with a number of twisted and mind-boggling jokes which were lapped up by the audience.