Last Friday, 28th September, 384 people crammed into the sold-out main hall of Kings Place in London to witness the triumphant success of the first ever Laugh for Leukaemia. After months of planning, the cream of British comedy gathered to produce a stunning evening of live comedy organised by Steph Moore and comedian Nick Mohammed.
Ahead of the gig, comic stars Daniel Kitson, Nick Mohammed, Adam Riches, Sam Fletcher and Jonny Sweet were named alongside the mysterious ‘very special guests’, sparking many rumours as to who those guests would be.
Kitson, one of the most respected comedians in the UK, started the night on fine form, firstly introducing Adam Riches, the 2011 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner who took audience participation to a new level, playing extreme swingball as in a guise of an ex-swingball champion. It was a captivating, hilarious set. Next to grace the stage was the first special guest of the evening. When the audience learnt that Tim Key, another Edinburgh Comedy Award winner, was to be next up, the excitement was palpable. Key, who wanted to be introduced as a poet, performed a low-key but brilliantly funny set loaded with subtle gags.
The final act of the first half was another surprise. Whilst Jonny Sweet had been announced on the bill, the secret was that he would be performing as one part of a sketch act, House of Windsor. The other two members of the act were Joe Thomas and Simon Bird, also known as Simon and Will from hit Channel 4 series The Inbetweeners. Having reformed especially for Laugh for Leukaemia, the act were incredibly nervous backstage about their first show in 5 years, which was exacerbated when Kitson announced that they may be awful! No one need have worried though; they performed an impressive number of different sketches exceptionally. As the first half drew to a close, Kitson stated that the interval would be cut short by 10 minutes after announcing that he had got carried away in the first half – no one minded one bit.
The second half began as the first left off, with Daniel Kitson dazzling with his razor-sharp wit. He clearly wanted each act to get their stage time though and quickly introduced Nick Mohammed as Mr Swallow. With a past Timeout review describing him as ‘An absolute master character comic ... Genuinely astounding’, the audience knew they would be in for a treat and they were not disappointed. Mr Swallow took time to point out the problems with the 12 days of Christmas and even completed a Rubix cube before departing the stage 20 triumphant minutes later.
Next up was Sam Fletcher, who was this year nominated as the best newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Sam’s mix of Dad Jokes and his brilliant ideas combined with quirky magic was a huge success. Finally, after over 2 hours of fantastic, side-splitting comedy, it was left to Daniel Kitson to announce that the final act of the evening, another unnamed special guest, was the inimitable Simon Amstell. He finished the evening with a hilarious, flawless self-depreciative set that had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.
As the curtain came down on a stunning evening of comedy all that was left was for Daniel Kitson to plead with the audience to donate what they could afford to help us beat blood cancers.
In all, Laugh for Leukaemia raised an incredible £5000 and it’s hoped that we can repeat this success next year and turn Laugh for Leukaemia into an annual event!