Russel Kane performing in Whipcrack at the Kanteena, Lancaster
Whipcrack Comedy Night Hosts Russell Kane at Kanteena

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Their debut was met with enough laughter that Boris thought the zipline meme was back

Like many, I have been missing the finer things in life since COVID – and while the ‘finer things’ tends to mean getting royally slaughtered in Sugar then getting a Sultans on the way home, it also means live comedy gigs, something Lancaster does exceptionally well.

Whipcrack, hosted by stand-up poet, Matt Panesh, was held for the first time since lockdown at Kanteena on Friday. The venue itself has finally opened up indoors and was fittingly described by one of the comedians as “they’d tried to build a theatre during an apocalypse”. This isn’t far off, especially considering he was standing on a stage flanked by a handmade EMERALD CITY sign that fluttered with green glitter curtains at every breeze. The refurbished warehouse spaced tables as far back as another postcode in efforts to comply with government regulations and, while the sound team had a job getting the speakers that far back, everyone could appreciate being just moments away from Kanteena’s famously stunning ramshackle bar (and drink selection).

Panesh, walking on-stage, reminded us all immediately of COVID with a short service announcement that acknowledged one of the strangest outcomes of the pandemic: the cheering ban. He called instead for a designated table-drummer and glass-raiser per party which several hundred tipsy onlookers were only too happy to comply with.

Then he went straight from COVID to weed and a not-so-PG poem called, ‘The Sacred Art of Self-Abuse’. The opening line was a very tasteful, “I got me dick in me hand”, which was followed by plenty more blue comedy-poetry about porn and sex. Don’t get us wrong, it was laugh-out-loud funny but anyone would need a few drinks to get into that after coming straight from work.

Next up was Eddie Fortune, a Liverpool-based comedian, who rocked up onto the stage screaming in a Powerpuff Girls t-shirt which certainly set the tone. Although when he cried, “Any gays in the building?” there was just a single, solitary whoop. (And it was from me. Sad times.)

But, credit to Eddie, he immediately started ripping into the straight couple, Tim and Veronica, in the front row before moving swiftly onto “Manspread” Steve a few tables back. From Eddie, we learned just how many calories you could burn with a blowjob, a strip tease, and a fart – which certainly has its uses. He ended with a poem about meeting his ex, “50 Shades of Gay”, which gave us about fifty new euphemisms for a penis that we were not expecting. 

Next up was transgender comedian, Laura Monmouth, who chose her name based on a Star Wars reference (which is both dedication and certainly cool). She began by teaching us how to pick your pornstar name (the name of your first pet plus your mother’s maiden name, if you’re interested) and threw a prize at the winning name, Sparky Peacock. But I would raise that mine, Pumpkin Train, is far better.

She spoke about her work in radio journalism before comedy, including covering an election night in the past. As David Cameron’s face appeared more and more on the TV, she got progressively drunker and became the first trans woman to break 6 Ofcom regulations in one night.

The biggest name of the evening, though, was Live at the Apollo’s Russell Kane. He rocked onto stage to riotous applause and several stage-whispers of, “Russell Kane! Gosh, we only paid £10.”

He opened with why being a comedian in lockdown is shit, “How cocky we were! Us self-employed people, pre-pandemic,” then went straight onto the latest division in the UK: “The 2-jabbers and the pre-existing conditions crew. The 1-jab wankers who think they’re fucking immortal. And the under 25 no-jab peasants.” Me and Lucy Whalen from Bailrigg shared a despondent no-jab peasant look across the table. If we didn’t feel called out at that, we did when he brought up how easily we were all bought by Eat Out 2 Help Out – which made us all feel a little dirty. 

Russell Kane was perhaps the biggest draw of the night, each anti-Boris (or “Posh Mr. Tumble”) getting its own personal standing ovation, but last on was Freddy Quinne who noted in the first minute that for some reason he was following Russell Kane, “like a bellend.”

In all fairness, he did tear apart one brave heckler and went on to give a very open discussion about frenuloplasty (which you should google). His one-fat-man’s appeal against a fat Love Island was funny, certainly when it was followed by his comment on Great British Bake Off’s fairly template casting choices. 

However, some of his more dubious jokes about non-white contestants on GBBO got about the same applause as his previous jokes on the holocaust and consent when he appeared at the Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool – which is none. 

Overall though, I couldn’t recommend Whipcrack enough. “All the performers and comedians are finally starting to come out of lockdown,” expressed Matt, the man behind Whipcrack, “so they’re all looking for anything to build back their books. You can expect more than a few incredible comedians coming up soon.”

Perhaps not the event to take your nan but certainly a night for the flat.

If you’re interested in attending any upcoming Whipcrack Comedy events, please follow the links below:

16th July skiddle.com/e/35834345

20th August skiddle.com/e/35834346

17th Sept skiddle.com/e/35834348

22nd Oct skiddle.com/e/35834350

19th Nov skiddle.com/e/35834351

10th Dec skiddle.com/e/35834352

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