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Not Exclusively...Even Better Than The Real Spring - An Appraisal....or.....What We Did!

The Funpackers & Scarlett Dobson

Hey everyone, thanks for reading. Assuming anyone is. Well, I'll probably give it a cursory proof read before I publish it so at the very least, I'm reading it. Hi Kev! Anyway, this is my first blog post on this website and I think it's only right to point out that all views and opinions expressed are my own, although obviously it's my long term goal to get the other Funpackers in line and agree with everything I think and say. It's important to have a goal I find and the benign dictatorship of a comedy group is as good a place to start as any.

So, as I was saying (was I? I should probably remove the moments of doubt after the proof read), this is my first Funpackers blog and as a way of reflecting today's society I've decided to spend it looking at the past (ah, lovely warm nostalgia). In this case I am looking all the way back to the heady days of Friday 11th May when it was all space-hoppers and Opal Fruits. Actually it was the evening when we presented our show 'Not Exclusively...Even Better Than The Real Spring' at our new home, Patchworks, The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham.

This feels like an important night for us in many ways as it was when we finally hit on a blueprint for what we would like these shows to be. We performed some stand-up and sketches ourselves (you've got to give the people what they want even if they don't know they want it) plus we had two great guests delivering top quality stand-up and an awesome musical guest too. The following is a breakdown of the evening for anyone foolish enough to have missed it (your Grandkids will think you're a prize moron for not coming to this, you know. Imagine their disappointed faces when they realise how desperately unhip you were in your shallow, wasted youth!).

The Funpackers started the evening by mucking about a bit and having fun in our new venue. The highlight of which was definitely Kirk Funpacker seeing how far down Twickenham high street he could get with a radio mic. We boast of anarchy on our posters and it's a hard thing to quantify but in moments like this when we offer genuine spontaneity and unpredictability I think we get pretty close to achieving it. This was followed by a short stand-up set by Kirk around his impending parenthood which had a lovely visual gag. Welcome to the world of the

perennially tired mate!

Kirk Funpacker

By the way, in case you're still unsure as to what this is, it isn't a transcript of the show or a review, it's just a jumble of thoughts that are currently taking up too much space in my brain.

So, this is when we had our two guest comedians. Both were superb and

also served as a nice juxtaposition to each other as our first act, Kevin Bishop (not the famous,

successful one), has over a decade of experience behind him while Scarlett Dobson is at the start of what we're all sure will be a long, successful career. Please do check them both out if you get the chance.

Kevin Bishop

Scarlett Dobson

After Kevin Bishop's routine I joined him on stage and we did a bit together. So, full disclosure, from 2005-2010 Kev and me (I'm called Kev too, that's crazy!) were in a double act together called Ham Yard Tourists. The routine we did at this point of the show was one we did a lot when we were on the circuit although we hadn't done it in almost a decade. I can't deny that it was a thrill to flex that particular muscle memory again as standing on a stage next to Kev really does feel like one of the most natural things in the world.

Ham Yard Tourists reunited

In case any of your have a morbid curiosity about such things here is Kev and me essentially doing that routine in its rawest form a lifetime ago.

To draw the half to a close we presented a sketch which I have to say the audience very generously seemed to enjoy. Pretty dangerous really as it's only going to encourage us to do more like it in the future. There is just something about wanting to save Icelandic ponies that will never fail to amuse us and if you can add Ant Funpacker in a leather waistcoat into the equation, that's a solid gold sketch.

Save the Icelandic Ponies.

After the skecth we found ourselves in a predicament as to what to do with the plate full of whipped cream that served as a punchline (I'm not even going to begin to explain how we got there) so that led us to another of those moments of spontaneous interaction with the audience that we hope makes our live experience worth seeing for yourself. An audience member agreed to receive the 'pie' in his face in exchange for a pint of Guinness. Although I think he was a little surprised by how much cream was actually on the plate.

The second half started with me saying some things. This included the live continuation of our regular podcast feature that is wowing them in the playgrounds and prison yards of our fair land, 'What You Got?'. If you are one of the very few who doesn't know what this is I suggest you download and subscribe to the podcast quick sharpish before you get left behind this cultural phenomenon.

This led to our new live regular feature '1 Minute Talent' in which our acts and audience are invited to share a talent that they can demonstrate in just 1 minute. I don't know why you made me explain it, it's all in the title. Our first ever '1 Minute Talent' was a great success (although I might need to talk to Jamie Funpacker about his choice of ABBA to underscore it), We had balloon keepie-uppy, spoon balancing, a proponent of the Welsh language, a barbershop quartet interpretation of Artful Dodger & Craig David and a certain Funpacker making a chocolate milk shake in his mouth. Oh, and I "sang" all of Wham Rap! while Kevin Bishop pulled his groin doing the splits but it took a lot longer than a minute so was probably void!

This is entertainment, this is what the people want. Seriously, who has more fun than we do?

After this we needed evidence of some actual preparation and writing so luckily Ant Funpacker was on hand to take us on a story telling adventure. Although there was still room for a spontaneous sing along thanks to a brilliant piece of quick thinking by Jamie Funpacker.

Ant Funpacker

After Ant there was just time for me and Kevin Bishop to present another of our old routines and it's one that I am particularly fond of. I can't reiterate enough how grateful I am to my fellow Funpackers for giving me and Kev the time and opportunity to indulge ourselves in this way....although it might just have been because it saved them from having to write another 20 minutes of material!

What a Clown!

When we first started planning these evenings we decided that there are already enough stand-up nights out there so we wanted our night to offer genuine variety. Therefore, wherever possible we will hope to use live music and we were able to end this show with a top music act. Alex and the Hula ensured the evening finished on a high with a great selection of songs that got everyone up on their feet, including Ant who took it one stage further and got up on stage.

Alex and The Hula

So, that was that. Except of course, it wasn't. Not really. Jamie Funpacker does such a great job for us. He produces our podcast (did I mention we have a podcast) and in our live shows he runs the sound desk and also willingly (?) plays the stooge when we require it. Finally, after the show he becomes DJ Jamie and gives our audience the chance to stay for a drink and a dance until the early hours with a superbly balanced and eclectic set.

DJ Jamie

So, that's my blog (bit long, wasn't it?). Congratulations on making it to the end, assuming you have. Our next show 'Not Exclusively...Wishing I Was Lucky' is on Friday 13th July so please do come along. As well as our nonsense, sketches and '1 Minute Talent' we have four excellent stand-up guests lined up and we will be revealing more information about them shortly. Please do come along, it's a fun night.....oh and please do subscribe to the podcast and leave a review. We love putting the content out there but it would be even nicer to know what people think about it.

See you soon,


The Funpackers, Scarlett Dobson & Iggle Piggle

Photo Credit - Jennie Stayner


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