words: SAM HAYSOM
If anyone tells you that fear and stand-up don’t go together, they obviously haven’t seen comedian Nick Helm performing on Halloween.
On Mon 31 Oct, Cardiff venue The Yard played host to Carnival Comedy, an up-and-coming stand-up night that places professional comedians in front of smaller audiences.
The organiser and MC Robin Morgan kicked off the evening, sharing anecdotes and sparring with audience members. The intimate venue was used to great effect as the proximity of the stage added a unique, conversational element to Robin’s warm-up act.
The evening, which hosted three sets from different comics, culminated in Nick Helm’s aggressive but brilliant performance. His massive stage presence was bolstered by his invasive form of comedy which made for a hilarious, yet slightly unnerving set. His close proximity to the crowd went well with his in-your-face style and comically visceral delivery.
Indeed, anyone who chose a seat in the front row probably lived to regret their decision as Helm’s gaze often darted to various victims, who he then either interrogated, insulted, or – in the case of one poor man – dragged up on stage to join him in song. All of which, it has to be said, was received with extreme mirth from the rest of us.
The supporting acts came in the form of John Robins and Rob Callaghan. The former’s comfortable stage manner and quirky idiosyncrasies did an excellent job of getting the audience going, while the latter showed promise with some intelligent satire and Gareth Gates-based mockery.
Ultimately, Carnival Comedy combined a great atmosphere with a wide variety of stand-up. If the quality of this monthly event continues, it should be set to see a rise in popularity similar to that of Nick Helm’s recent career.