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Stag Party

The Blessington Carriage – Aaron Jay, Daniel Blacow, Helen Prior, Tom Ratcliffe, Matt Hollins, Lou Ridgeway and Wilson

Tonight I was in Derby at the Blessington Carriage for the Funhouse comedy night. This was a busy show with plenty of people, two cute dogs and 3 students all present. Two of the students were called Bo and worked in cafes, which gave Spiky Mike plenty to chat to them about, as well as the admin guy and a lady who ran a different cafe called The Perfect Cuppa. It wasn’t long before we were ready for our opening act.

Aaron Jay

Jay got a lot right. He was good at working with the audience, his set had a decent construction and he ended with a callback that wrapped things up nicely. The material was all good, too, with house and dog possibly being the stand outs. There were a few pull back and reveals and on occasion I could guess where he was going, but these are minor things. With more stage time I’m sure he’ll build on what is already solid and improve these little things. Jay got the night off to a fun and upbeat start.

Daniel Blacow

I last saw Blacow doing a gong show in this room and although he hadn’t won, he’d done well enough to impress Mike and had been progressed to a ten spot. It’s nice when you see promising acts getting on like this. Blacow has an engaging delivery and as he had remembered the names of audience members, he was able to tie things in to the room, which worked very well indeed. It was great to see him getting laughter for dealing so well when one of the dogs present started barking during his set.

Helen Prior

Prior made an immediate impression on the audience and between her delivery, rolling rrrrrs and turn of phrase, she sold her material very well. The room liked her a lot. It was great to see her also bringing the audience into her performance. This was an enjoyable and different performance from an act whom I think I’m going to be seeing plenty of in the future.

Helen was kind enough to give me a signed copy of her book, which can be found here: Helen Prior – book (

Tom Ratcliffe

We resumed after the intermission with Ratcliffe, who dealt well with an immediate shout out from a namesake in the audience. With good performance skills, an expressive face and good writing, there was absolutely nothing to dislike in this set. Even the Pinter joke, which went over a few people’s heads, was still impressive. The topper on men was great, the routine about Laika was both funny and novel and it was lovely to see him getting applause for an ad-lib. This was a strong performance.

Matt Hollins

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Hollins, so it was a nice surprise to see him on the bill. I liked how in the one sentence, ‘I’m Matt….. and I’m from Leicester,’ he went from receiving cheers to groans. This was a performance that rolled along nicely, with the Waratah routine being the standout. There was a definite touch of class to Hollins and it made me think that if he’d been in front of the right people some time ago, or had just caught that lucky break, he’d be a lot further up the ladder.

Lou Ridgeway

There’s no end of good stuff in Ridgeway’s set. Growth is a rock solid routine, as is the uncertain world material. I also enjoyed Lou’s performance. At times, he reminded me slightly of Thomas Green in his style, where he’d have the odd laugh escape during a set up. That’s praise, as Green is a champion act. This was a good performance by Ridgeway.


I last saw Wilson a few years ago in Tamworth and he’d been good then, so I was curious to see how he’d improved in the meantime. The answer was that he was extremely good. This was a performance that went down a treat. Wilson didn’t put a foot wrong. He held the room with ease, his material was universally strong, there was a wonderful logical flow to what he was saying and I think the audience wanted to hear more. Know what and the course were the obvious stand outs, but there was nothing that the audience didn’t all enjoy here. It would be nice to see Wilson getting more bookings up here.


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