Wednesday, February 12, 2003

After months of meaning to go to Comedy Camp, downstairs at Barcode, we finally made it last night. The only available seats were in the front row - never a good idea at a comedy gig. But we thought 'to hell with it', and braced ourselves for the ribbing that was sure to follow. Matters were made worse when I arrived back from the bar midway through compere Simon Happily's opening remarks. "Don't think I didn't see you," he said, "Ooh you look like a real bit of rough, but then you laugh and become a screaming queen."

Opening act Cathy P went down well, playing to the audience, relating anecdotes of her experiences as a lesbian growing up in Yorkshire. "We had one lesbian night a month, held in the local community centre. The DJ had lights which went red, blue, green; red, blue, green. Or, if he was feeling really flash, green, blue, red."

Simon Amstell made the most of his daytime job - presenter of T4's Popworld. He told us which popstars are twats (Ronan Keating, apparently) and which are gay. "Justin Timberlake says he never shagged Britney Spears. Of course you didn't, Justin - you're as gay as a very gay thing." Simon made me laugh a great deal, even though he picked on me a lot.

Mandy Muden was billed as performing magic and comedy, but neither was much in evidence.

Headliner Jo Caulfield was utterly brilliant. Perhaps we were just pissed by this stage, but we were in hysterics all the way through her act. Described as "Graham Norton's warm-up", which, she said, made her think of herself as a fluffer. Her experience showed, as she was confident and relaxed and very, very funny.

A top night out - I will definitely be going back, perhaps on the 11th of March, for surreal duo Men In Coats.

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