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Review: Ian Cognito, Paul Tonkinson & Andy Watson - St Dominic's Catholic Club, Newcastle. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Dipper   
06 09 2010
ImageComedy returned to The Grinning Idiot's flagship venues this weekend as the club played host to Ian Cognito and Paul Tonkinson, with support from Andy Watson. Beginning the night later than planned was resident MC John Smith. What Smith lacked in material he made up in genuine enthusiasm and drive, and importantly he knew his audience - demonstrated by bizarrely kissing each of the front row at several points during the night - which further heightened the intimacy of the venue. It's a perfect room for comedy.

The first act of the evening was amiable comic Paul Tonkinson, whose set consisted of a series of familial anecdotes underpinned by an ‘embarrassing dad' act, which admittedly worked rather well with the older crowd at the venue. But it was his routine on blowjobs that really highlighted the talents of Tonkinson. It's a brilliantly written piece, and proves that the comic is at his best with his darker material.

However, some of his other routines, especially those involving his daughter, feel like outdated observations that are more awkward than funny. Tonkinson's an entertaining act, though, with a McIntyre style of delivery that amplifies his well written observations.

In contrast to Paul Tonkinson's practiced anecdotal style, middle act Andy Watson brought the house down with a tight set involving a series of clever one liners and jokes about his odd appearance. Watson's the man Lee Evans was ten years ago - fresh, funny and full of enthusiasm - only less sweaty.

ImageHeadliner Ian Cognito brought with him an air of exclusivity and controversy; having never appeared on television and been blacklisted from many venues in the UK, his expectation almost precedes him. And whilst Cognito was most definitely controversial in his material and at times aggressive in his delivery - gags about disability, rape, sexism, Jews and thalidomide are always going to divide most crowds - he was also intelligent and confident enough in his command of the audience to ditch the microphone instead wandering around the crowd whilst he told his jokes.

Comedians like Ian Cognito are a dying breed. Whilst sometimes it feels like the comic sacrifices jokes for controversy, he is clearly a clever performer who addresses the things most comedians shy away from - and that's why Cognito's a very special act. Whether you like him, however, is a different matter.

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