Live At The Apollo: Part 1

Hello again! This is a special blog post, as it’s the first one which I am writing from my new home town of Leamington Spa! I’ve successfully moved into my new student accommodation with my lovely housemates from first year into a cute little terraced house and I’m loving it so far. Granted, some times can be a bit tough, whether it be having too many people in the kitchen or trying to make a different bedroom homely, but I’m slowly getting used to making Leamington Spa my home. I know I’m going to have a wonderful time in the Midlands, and make even more memories at university in my sophomore year! (I know I’m not American, but a girl can dream… I’ve already fulfilled my PSL craving from Starbucks!) But, while exploring Leamington Spa, I had a wonderful day trip with my flatmate Ellen to see one of our favourite TV shows, Live at the Apollo.

I managed to get the tickets via SRO audiences, and was shocked that I managed to acquire Priority tickets. I don’t know quite why, but it was a nice little Brucie bonus for the day, making the trip seem worthwhile. Ellen and I set off from Leamington Spa for a train journey that felt remarkably quick, yet also forever. Once this train journey was done: full of set writing and discussions about the house and the super-confusing bus timetable, we arrived at Marylebone ready to brave rush-hour tube traffic. After our two tubes which were as sweaty as a Prague nightclub, we arrived at Hammersmith and decided to get the tickets before eating dinner. We arrived at Hammersmith Apollo and were greeted by a long queue, which disheartened us. However, I saw that this was a general queue, and there was a separate area for Priority. Ellen and I then joined this, and were in and out in 5 minutes with our seats in Row H in the stalls. I cannot fault these seats, they were INCREDIBLE! You were just so close to all the action, and hopefully you’ll see my bright pink jumper on TV. Maybe. Just maybe. To celebrate, Ellen and I had a McDonalds and discussed who we wanted to see!

The Snapchat caption says it all…

For those of you who do not know what Live at the Apollo is, it is a British stand-up comedy programme performed from the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre, showcasing the finest comedy in the world! The show attracts millions of viewers and more often than not, can act as a platform for plenty of comedians to make their dreams a reality. Just look at Joe Lycett; since his set, his career has skyrocketed and has attracted quite the following, selling out his shows as a consequence of greater TV airtime! LATA is an excellent way to watch new types of comedy that you may not initally feel appeal to you, however you can be pleasantly surprised at what you see. As a consequence of the show, I’ve grown to love Sara Pascoe and it made me fall in love with Josh Widdicombe, Jack Whitehall and Jon Richardson! LATA is a glitzy affair, and at some points Ellen and I felt severely underdressed in jeans and jumpers. Yet, we’re students, we’re not London city workers with plenty of disposable income to warrant spending ludicrous amounts of money on clothes when we could quite easily spend £5 on an item. As Ellen and I took our seats in the venue, we knew we were in for a treat. It was incredible to see a show that we’ve grown to love and it really inspired us. We then had the call that the first episode was about to start. They film two episodes per night, and we saw 6 class acts, all with finetuned work that they were all clearly very proud of! I thoroughly enjoyed every act, and I heartily encourage you to check them all out!

The first episode was compered by none other than the chattiest man on the block, Alan Carr! Fortunately, Ellen and I had seen Alan’s material performed before, as we had stewarded his latest tour ‘Yap Yap Yap’ when it came to Warwick Arts Centre earlier in the year. Whilst Alan Carr was utterly hilarious, the fact that so many of his jokes were repetitive from February yet still felt incomplete within a whole set wasn’t necessarily the best thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think that Alan Carr is a serious talent. However, when you consider the amount of success that Alan Carr has, I personally expect him to be more of a well rounded performer than what he actually is, considering that he’s been used to performing for Live at the Apollo since 2007; a seasoned professional. Nonetheless, he pranced around the stage and got plenty of laughs from the 2,000+ strong audience. Alan Carr discussed plenty of things, such as the safari he went on with his Mum and how he was a scaredy cat when he saw the lion. Most definitely adhering to the super camp persona that the nation has come to love Alan Carr for. But, where Alan Carr shone was most definitely the compering. He made sure that the two performers were welcomed onto the stage and felt as comfortable as possible. They had both never performed at Live at the Apollo, so it must have been genuinely frightening, but we made them feel at ease, even if it didn’t necessarily seem that we were a warm audience.

First to grace the stage was the wonderful Francesca Martinez, who I had only seen on ‘Very British Problems’ which didn’t give me the best impression of her type of comedy, but she was heartwarming, and really captured the audience in the palm of her hands. Although she has cerebal palsy, she made it clear from the get go that she calls herself as ‘wobbly’. Whilst never performing at LATA, she has performed all around the world, holding the accolade of the first female comic to win the Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award at the Edinburgh Festival. Martinez performed material from her most recent show, WHAT THE **** IS NORMAL?! where she goes on the quest to find out who is normal, and she addressed the audience that if you think you’re normal, then you’re a freak. She openly addressed how people view her in society, especially the taxi driver who thought that she couldn’t walk and was wobbly because she was drunk. Compassionate, yet in the wrong way. Martinez also discussed the time she met David Bowie, and was just chill around him, calling him Dave and people wanting photos with her instead due to her Grange Hill days. On the whole, Martinez presented herself as a kind, caring, lovely woman who clearly appreciated the opportunity to be on LATA.

LATA Selfie
Love a good selfie.

Next on stage was the incredible Nish Kumar! After receiving tickets for Newsjack AND Have I Got News For You, both of which I cannot make due to being at university and finding out that Nish was on the lineup, seeing Nish at LATA clearly shows that we are destined to be together. Nish was marvellous, and his opening joke that he’d had a banana at the right time tickled Ellen and I so much. I shouted ‘K’ but not loud enough. Love a good potassium joke (I’m such a nerd, I’m sorry). Nish discussed that he’s having an excellent time at the moment with his comedy life as he’s recently come back from New Zealand, and I’m extremely jealous. He was mentioning the awkward conversations he’s had in regards to the presumption that he is Islamic due to his name, yet my favourite part of the set was his discussion of board games. Although I had already seen this as a result of bingewatching BBC at Edinburgh Fringe shows, it was just as good hearing Nish moan about the consequences of playing Monopoly in the flesh. There really should be different cards in Monopoly just to spice it up. I’ve got one here: ‘Roadworks stop you from getting to your destination. Do not pass go. Do not collect £2,000,000’. It needs work. I’m not a comedian like Nish. Nish was spectacular, and when he performs his full set at university in November, I’ll be able to catch it. Nish is a treat.

On the whole, Episode 1 was an absolute success, and then we had a small interval before Episode 2 was about to start. Make sure you check out my next blog post where I discuss who was on the next episode. In the meantime, have a listen to a song that I’m absolutely loving!


Sophie x


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