Bramall Comedy Night: belly laughs with an edge

Bramall Comedy Night: belly laughs with an edge

Comedy Night came back to the Bramall with a bang this month. Three real fireworks from the stand-up comedy scene took to the stage on Thursday 11th October, as part of Birmingham Comedy Festival.

Headliner Robert White is best known for his runner-up stint on Britain’s Got Talent.

His oddball style and quirky musical wit charmed the judges and the public, and in person the story’s much the same. Live, he has an instant warmth and rapport with the audience: fortunately, since his live set is – as he acknowledges – rather more adult than his TV appearances.

Robert White

White walks a fine but distinct line between hilarity and offence, carrying the audience gasping along with him.

It’s a remarkable skill that relies on his personal charm, and a raft of experiences as a minority: ‘I have Asperger’s, which means I find it hard to think straight… actually I haven’t thought straight since I was eighteen,’ he quips, mock-chastising the audience as we fill in the blank before him: ‘If you get the joke before the punchline it’s homophobic.’

His mix of daft old-school jokes, on-the-edge audience banter and personal confessions is that dream of a live show: a belly-laugh-inducing show that shouldn’t work but does in spades, purely because of the performer. He’s a charismatic underdog, and worth the price of entry all by himself.

Of course, a Bramall comedy night doesn’t ever offer only one performer.

In support was Tom Houghton, in a return to the Bramall stage. Last time he was here as part of improv musical troupe The Noise Next Door. He’s now flying solo, and treated us to a pared-down version of his recent Edinburgh set.

Tom Houghton at the Bramall

Houghton trades on his posh-boy persona – and given that his Dad’s a Lord and he literally lives in the Tower of London (‘I failed history and now I live in it’), he’s not faking.

It results in a set that’s less about shared experiences, more about the implausibility of his life; after all, most of us haven’t woken up on Christmas morning to discover someone’s put an ice rink in the moat. His cheerful send up of ‘Tofftosterone, striding into McDonald’s in a monocle, dressed in endangered species’ lets us stand alongside him, gazing at the upper classes with mutual bewilderment.

Rahul Kohli

Bringing it all together was expert compere Rahul Kohli.

The self-described Geordie Indian woke up a Thursday night campus crowd with a blend of scripted gems (to an ex-girlfriend as she broke up with him: ‘I took you to the Lake District! Idris Elba wouldn’t do that!’) and off-the-cuff chat.

‘Don’t panic, I’m not immigration!’ he promised one nervous respondent, before cheekily drawing out some cross-campus potential romance. ‘I didn’t realise the museum was the Tinder of Birmingham.’

Take note, visitors.


The Bramall Comedy Night returns on Thursday 24th January 2019, with Daliso Chaponda, Jonny Awsum and compere Ian Smith. Don’t miss out: snap up your tickets today.

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