I’ve been to a fair few comedy nights over the years, of varying quality it must be said. However turning up at Cavendish Road in Haringey, I knew I was in for something a bit special. You see this comedy night was not being held in a pub or a theatre, it was being held in the host’s HOUSE.
As the guests arrived, we all stood around a little nervously, not quite knowing what was about to happen. Our fears were put to rest however when our host appeared dressed as what can only be described as an incredibly camp Richard O’Brien.
The night was under the premise that an obsessed Richard O’Brien fan had captured various “contestants” and forced them into a bizarre version of the Crystal Maze. We were soon whisked away towards the kitchen to meet our first
captive comedian, Sunil Patel. Here we were treated to a fun little tale of failed record attempts, culminating in Patel attempting to eat a whole onion in under 90 seconds. An odd ending to say the least but fitting given the setting. I’m fairly certain that the whole endeavour was caught on video from at least five different angles.
Next up, we were ordered to grab our coats and head out into the garden. Here, behind a toilet bonfire, we met Javier Costales. our second
prisoner comedian was a musical act. Unfortunately, most of my memory of this set has been pushed out of my memory by the toilet bonfire exploding halfway through. Sad, as I do remember thoroughly enjoying the music under the stars but having never seen a toilet explode before, my brain took that as a priority.
Once the laughter had died down and the fires put out, we were taken back inside to meet Barry Ferns, our friend who lives in the cupboard under the stairs. Crowding round in whatever space we could find to see this smallest of stages, it was clear that this night was something special. This wasn’t a standard open mic night but more an intimate meeting of friends telling each other funny anecdotes. You really felt like these people actually lived like this and that was a nice feeling.
Fern’s set was a tale of an un-comfortable, potentially dangerous situation brought on by politeness, made all the more funny by its apparent truthfulness. Once finished, Fern returned to his cubby hole and we headed upstairs for a toilet break, only to find Amy Howerska hiding out, drinking wine. Gathering around on the stairs we all listened intently to her stories. Again, this felt like a group of friends just having a chat over coffee and it felt nice.
Moving on, we headed to the bedroom for something a little different. Here, Keith Foggan and Kieron Coyle played out a comedy sketch reminiscent of Morcambe and Wise’s bedroom sketches. Excellently written and performed brilliantly, the whole room was in stitches, even during a slightly bad-taste Auschwitz pun.
Leaving Foggan and Coyle to get some sleep, we moved on to our final, and possibly most surreal act of the night. With twenty-something people not being able to fit into your average bathroom, most crowded around the door while myself and three others took the plunge and headed in. Here, we were met by Luke Capasso, stripped down to underwear, holding a guitar and shaving his legs. I must say I’ve never had comedy set directed at me from less than a foot away and it was equal parts terrifying and brilliant. Capasso’s set was spot on, reminded us of our own mortality with dead-pan brilliance. How he managed to remain so deadpan after convincing one of our fellow guests to finish shaving his legs for him I’ll never know.
Congratulations for James O’Brien on his first Semi-Detached Comedy Night (held in a terraced house it has just occurred to me). The night could have either been utterly brilliant or completely disastrous and thankfully, it exceeded everyone’s expectations. I shall definitely be keeping an eye out for the next one