I have not been to many comedy clubs over the years. Always intended to, but just never got around to it. Last weekend me and my SO went off to Chester for a long weekend to celebrate my birthday which included visiting Alexander’s, supposedly the oldest Comedy Club in the UK outside of London.
We visited during the preceding afternoon to order tickets for the comedy show and were told we had to buy tickets on the door on the evening. We were advised to queue for 8pm with the show starting 9.30. That was unless we ordered food in which case we could book a table. To be sure of a seat, we booked a meal – we had to choose the same menu set unless only one of us was vegetarian. We chose the “rib” offering and paid in full for the two of us (£34 less a bit of change). We were still advised to come for 8pm.
When we arrived, there was a fair queue but we got in quickly enough and were guided through a rather tightly packed floor space to a table for two next to the very small “stage” (well, a 1 foot high platform). No one between us and the performer.
Customers were taken to their tables quickly and the first part of our meal arrived. The table was small and it was hard to get the food on as well as our plates. I bowed out of the first dishes as they were all cheese based (including and enormous pile of melted-cheese covered nachos) and I am allergic to cheese.
It was well after 10 before the first act came on. Good warm up of the crowd. Made us laugh. There was then a long break before the second performer, which surprised us. We also became concerned about how long we would be there as it looked pretty difficult to get from our seats to the toilets (and we also had concerns about getting out in case of fire).
Eventually, the lights went down again, the original performer came back an introduced the next act. The next act came on looking less than confident and went down hill from there. He had trouble with a small group who doing some light heckling and eventually had to give up when the audience stopped trying to laugh even slightly. He made a key mistake common I believe to many comedians of drawing too much attention to a troublesome group and making them seem worse than they were. I think he had a distorted view of how big a distraction they were to the rest of the audience (not much) and he should have tried to ignore them as much as possible. To his credit, after another long break, he returned to introduce the next act but did manage to get some good laughs in first. The final act, the headliner, also made the mistake of focusing too much on the troublesome group but entertain very well overall. It was gone midnight though when we finished having turned up at 8pm and eaten some food that was frankly terrible and had only about 60 minutes of entertainment (including 20 minutes or so of a dying comic so desperate that at one point he pretended to be a frog and used a party toy to imitate the long tongue of a frog).
We will not be going back.