Beat The Frog World Series Final 2017 @ The Frog & Bucket

This is one of our favourite nights in the comedy calendar. The final seems to have come around quickly this year.

It’ll be Christmas before you know it, but right now there’s a champ to be crowned. Whose night will it be?

Mike Carter gets the bad luck of the draw and is first on. He has a nice opening gag to break the ice, which like a lot of his material is at his own expense.

We like his self-deprecation and he has a very amiable stage presence, so he’s certainly an act we’ll seek out again.

Kiran Morjaria begins and ends by drawing on his Indian upbringing. However, the real fun lies elsewhere, as he enjoyably reads out rap lyrics where a particular naughty word is replaced (and repeated frequently) by a more family friendly version of his own choosing.

It all builds towards an excellent sight gag. It’s the second time we’ve seen Morjaria perform and you have to applaud his dedication to this particular joke. We’re not going to spoil it, you’ll just have to go and find him on a bill!

Dark humour is very much our bag, so we have to send one of our votes Kathryn Mather’s way.

The revelation that she used to be a children’s entertainer just makes it all the sweeter when she launches into material on terror attacks and religious customs. It’s nice that she’s found an audience for that sort of thing.

It’s not controversy for controversy’s sake either, it’s deftly handled and occasionally veers towards surreal. It turns out that our vote is one of many, and she deservedly takes the title.

Kathryn Mather

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Dougie. It’s become great fun watching an audience try to figure him out. As ever, he’s delightfully awkward and we’re giggling at the back throughout.

He gets our other vote and we will never tire of urging you to go and watch him.

Tom Lawrinson is the only act who we also saw at last year’s final. This set covers a lot of the same material, which is fine for us as it just means we know when our favourite bits are coming up.

He brands himself as ‘cheeky’ early on in the routine, and we can’t think of a better adjective for him really. Even when he’s talking about sex with dogs, he does it with a glint in his eye that makes you think it’ll probably turn out fine.

Carrie Anne the Redneck Comedian starts off strongly enough with some amusing prop-based gags, but loses momentum when a particularly boring heckler gets involved.

Sadly, the set doesn’t really recover, but with her cheerful and brash stage persona we can see how she might win over an audience on a better night.

Tayo Cousins won the panel prize here in 2015. His bit about the challenges of going to school with an unpronounceable African name is good, as is his Nelson Mandela impression. Tonight though, he doesn’t quite stand out against the competition.

Russian Konstantin Kisin uses his nationality as a base for some Brexit-based fun at our expense. He gets stuck into the US election too, and it all feels very polished.

He brings one of the more understated styles of the evening and his observations are at times so accurate that they’re as despairing as they are funny.

His topical set certainly strikes a chord with the Frog’s industry experts, who award him their panel prize.

Konstantin Kisin

Closing the show is Adam Hughes. Where on Earth do we start with this? He regales us with a story of a ‘romantic’ encounter in a cupboard and he does not skimp on details.

It’s an intense, aggressive and stunningly rude yarn that sends us into an awed, did-he-really-just-say-that loop of laughter and gasps of horror.

It’s no surprise that Hughes has progressed so far in this format, because his act is so unhinged that he might conceivably do or say anything at any time. Why would you want to curtail that?

It’s as compelling as it is terrifying. The relentless barrage of smut won’t be for everyone, but tonight he takes second prize.

Adam Hughes

As ever, last year’s winner closes the show as the results are counted, which means we get to see Donal Vaughan one more time before we head off into the chilly Monday night.

Another year in the can, and it all starts again next Monday. That Frog just can’t get enough.

You can find upcoming Beat The Frogs shows on their website. If you’re feeling brave, there’s even the option to put yourself forward for a slot.

 

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