Klown Grotesk

I’ve never been to standup comedy at the Rose before, despite the great value (a fiver for several acts.) It was quite an experience. Craig Deeley, Chris Ramsey, and compere Elliot J Huntley offered varying levels of amusement and/or offensiveness. I felt I had my fivers-worth about halfway through Mr Deeley’s act, partly from the pleasure of hearing a West Brom accent. But the main reason I went was curiosity to see what Chris Lynam would get up to in the (to my mind) tame environment of the Rose. I first saw Mr Lynam, over 20 years ago when I worked at the Zap Club, a venue in Brighton. There was some sort of comedy competition on an outdoor stage, which I think Chris won… I remember him wrestling the dignatory who announced the prize to the ground in an absurdly uncalled-for snog… and at some point being lured down from a lamp-post by the police… I thought then he looked and performed like Jerry Lewis half-transformed into a werewolf – and it occurred to me last week that he could play the Joker without needing makeup…

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His Rose show was… many things, and certainly hard to ignore. Grotesque, confrontational, scary clowning, like some shaman channeling the Trickster archetype into the standup format… funny, but also appalling and compelling like a performance-art carcrash. His banjo-accompanied songs were disturbing on an almost cellular level, and the finale was a combination of nudity and pyrotechnics I had hoped never to witness… to sum up, I liked it a lot.

Four American students who sat in the front row should have had equal billing with the acts, as three out of four performers zeroed in on them relentlessly – Chelsea should get extra credit for her piano playing alone.