Laugh Out Proud - Comedy review

Review: Laugh Out Proud, 21 South Street, Reading
By Wendy Thomson

Laugh Out Proud with Tom Allen, Rosie Wilby (MC), Shelley Cooper & Julie Jepson, 21 South Street, Reading, October 16 2010

I had a mixture of feelings before going to see Laugh Out Proud on Saturday. I hoped I would like the show, but I was nervous about being in a straight person minority. Would I feel at ease in the audience? Would I like the jokes? Would there be sexually explicit detail that would make me feel uncomfortable? Did these worries mean that I’m prejudiced?

I’m pleased to say that my thoughts were unfounded, it was a great evening where Rosie Wilby (MC) and all the comedians made the audience feel welcome and included.

Rosie introduced each stand up and warmed up the audience – not literally with an electric heater – but with her friendly nature and jokes about gym workouts, festival camping and cash points.

The first act was Julie Jepson who had driven up from Brighton on her blue motorbike. She was wearing a fetching top which had been designed by her nephew (who hasn’t come out yet). Julie amused us with stories of mistaken identity and sailing single handedly round the world in a yacht – oops that was Ellen Macarthur, not Julie. We also learnt sign language that could help with future cake acquisitions.

Shelley Cooper reminisced about wearing knickers under her shorts when young, then moved onto politics, former British colonies and the history of the royal family. She had a great set and should have got more applause but interrupted the flow with a toast to someone. Shelley wore fabulous mock zebra shoes and said it was relief to find they weren’t real zebra.

Tom Allen, dashing in a smart suit with pink shirt ‘which doesn’t wear itself’ was a fantastic headline act who had the audience in stitches, with a hilarious impersonation of his mum, memories of school which sounded like The Inbetweeners, a best friend who gets personal advice from Love It magazine and the horrors of being harassed while on a hot date.

By the end of the evening it made no difference to me that I’d watched a show with two lesbian comics, one gay and one transgender, what mattered was how good they were as stand up acts and it would be great to see any of them again on the circuit.

This was the first of perhaps many Laugh Out Proud nights, to which I would encourage comedy fans (whatever your sexual preference) to book a ticket for.

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