The Electrical Club, venue’s and comedian’s

So having booked his grandma to do the “exotic dancing” Graham would turn his attention to a venue for the Electrical Club’s “Special Event” and to that speciality act, “The Stag Comedian”.

The venue was fairly straightfoward for on most occasions his venue of choice was always “La Dolce Vita”, mainly because it was always available and it was always free to hire.

In the 1960’s La Dolce Vita had been one of the premier venues in the North East, a place where the country’s top musicians and artists flocked to appear, a place where if you were anyone then you simply had to be seen.

But by 1981 it had passed beyond shabby to a state of existence known only by one word – shit.

It was a shit nightclub and no-one ever went there willingly.

Except the Electrical Club.

The first thing that struck you about La Dolce Vita is that it was dark inside, the second thing that struck you about La Dolce Vita was that as you walked across the carpeted floor you suddenly realised why it was so dark – it was dark to prevent you from realising that you were actually walking across a sticky mess rather than carpet, stand still long enough and you were stuck like glue to the carpet which was obviously the original 1960’s carpet with 20 years worth of beer spilled on it.

The third thing that struck you about La Dolce Vita struck you when you went to the Gents toilet and you realised that two decades of vandalism had never been repaired to the point where the urinals were missing, having been smashed off the wall long ago, you therefore urinated into the pipe on the wall where the urinal had been, easy to do when sober (well, easy for Gents anyway) but nigh on impossible when blathered hence the need to roll up your trouser legs before entering the paddling pool which jokingly passed for “The Gents” and constant aroma of ammonia which stung your eyes at all times.

The comedian of Grahams choice was always a bit of a hit and miss affair.

The problem with booking a comedian for an all-male function including exotic dancers (and Grahams grandma) is that as soon as the booking agent hears the phrase “all-male function including exotic dancers” he reaches for the lever arch file with “Shit Comedians” written on the spine, and my god did we see some shit comedians.

Apart from Roy Chubby Brown, who at that time was just making a name for himself on the North East club circuit as a “blue comedian”, for it was only Roy Chubby Brown who seemed to understand that in order to be a “blue comedian” and to entertain whole rooms full of male-only audiences on what could loosely be called a “Stag Do”, you not only had to insert the word “fuck” into most sentences, but your jokes had to be funny too.

Thats where most of the other “blue comedians” went wrong, they inserted the word “fuck” into every sentence as a matter of course, but they failed to check whether or not their jokes were funny, and on the whole they just never were, none of them, ever, and its not enough to just stand there and keep saying “fuck” and think that your audience will start to laugh sooner or later.

Perhaps the worst thing that can happen to any comedian, “blue” or not, is to not have any of your audience laugh at your jokes, and the next worst thing after that is to have them start to shout things at you that are actually funnier than your jokes so that the audience starts to laugh at the heckler but still refuses to laugh at you – and then the third worst thing to happen is when they start to throw coins at you to get you off the stage.

I saw lots of comedians treated in this way in that awful night club called The Dolce Vita on those awful Electrical Club evenings and I even saw one of them get himself all annoyed about the fact that one person in the audience had thrown a penny on stage and shouted to him that he was being paid off and to leave the club immediately – this comedians outrage at being treated in this manner was the signal for EVERYONE in the club to throw coins at him and rather stupidly he stood his ground under an airborne barrage (of coins) that would have done Arthur “Bomber” Harris proud, he did eventually run off, cut, bloody and with bruised ego, to a huge cheer – it was a brutal life on the Newcastle “blue comedian” circuit and only Roy Chubby Brown stood out from the dross – having said that I think that Roy Chubby Brown is about as funny as having your house burned down these days.

So we’d stick ourselves to the floor and we’d piss into pipes on the wall and we’d wade through other people’s piss in order to do so and we’d suffer all of these degradations just so that we could watch Grahams choice of exotic dancers (and his grandma) and listen to shit comedians whilst getting drunk on beer that smelled as though it had lain in the pumps since the 1960’s, they were great nights, lads nights, nights that women cannot hope to understand, we wallowed in filth and foul odours to watch Percy Filth on stage – no wonder women don’t understand us.

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