The idea of King Gong is very simple; a number of wannabe stand-up comics get their chance to entertain a capacity crowd for five minutes. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will last the full five minutes. Three people in the crowd are handed red cards which they must hold up in the air when they have heard enough. When all three red cards are in the air, a gong is sounded and the comic must leave the stage. Anyone that is lucky enough to last the full five minutes is invited back to the final at the end of the night.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much from this event, but I was pleasantly surprised. The MC for the evening was New Zealand comedian; Jared Christmas who did an excellent job on entertaining the crowd and keeping the performers in line – taking an executive decision to gong off a performer whose material could have been interpreted as racist.

During the event there were some highs and lows. Some of the performers were incredibly nervous and unprepared – reading their material off their hand! However, some comedians used this to their advantage, Simon Lomas being one of them. When he stood on stage he appeared very shy, awkward, lacking any emotion, and then proceeded to make a string of jokes about his ‘wild’ lifestyle – which went down a storm with the audience, and gave him a place in the final.

At one stage Christmas opened the mic to anyone in the crowd who hadn’t officially entered, but wanted to give it a go. Surprisingly there was one act who did and performed a great set – lasting the whole five minutes.

There must have been close to 30 performers on the night, and only five out them managed to last the full five minutes. These five were then invited back to the stage and had to perform for one minute, before the audience decided who the winner was. This was decided by who received the loudest cheer and applause.

One of things I had hoped was that the judges would be a bit more brutal. There were some performers who needed to be shown a red card earlier than they were. I got the impression that some of the judges didn’t want to be the first one to hold up a red card.

The event also went on rather late for a Sunday evening. Perhaps King Gong could cut the number of entrants or start the performance a bit earlier.

A special mention needs to go to Christmas who was fantastic as the host for the night. He did a great job of interacting with the audience and making light of the situations that were unfolding in the audience. A personal favourite was showing up a lady who got up to go the toilet during the performance, but went to the wrong door – meaning she had to walk all the way back through the crowd and out the other door!

Overall this is a good night’s entertainment and definitely worth a visit. You may not get the best quality comedians here, but some are so bad it’s hilarious and you may be lucky to find a rare gem.

Reviewer: Brian Madden

Reviewed: 6th March 2016