Laugh or the Polar Bear Gets It at the Hammersmith Apollo
“I don’t even know what this charity is for!” comedian Tony Law, the last of 10 acts at the Hammersmith Apollo, concluded. With over 3,000 masks, a huge sculpture and the numerous requests from host Charlie Baker to text “laugh to 770777” – we knew. Last night was all about the polar bear.
Despite Baker reading out the wrong number, the third annual Laugh or the Polar Bear Gets It raised over £1,200 in text messages alone for charity Friends of the Earth. It’s a motto which – from Richard Herring’s “green” boxers to Danny Bhoy’s “drought David” – seemed to infiltrate the sketches.
A staccato performance, with fresh faces joining the stage every ten minutes or so, the rapid change-over of comedians was both refreshing and jilting. On the one hand, having men and women, slap-stick and sarcasm, singing and piano playing, offered a series of comedic devices that were different and entertaining. On the other hand, no sooner had you settled into an act, they were checking their watches and were gone. Additional performances from Soho Theatre Stand-Up Award winner Vikki Stone for example, would have been brilliant.
Stone combined stand up and musical comedy in her set; she was good in the first, but fantastic in the latter. Taking to the white grand piano after the interval, the Zooey Deschanel look-alike gave us a taster of her lyricism with two songs: an ode to Phillip Schofield and a tale of a one night stand. The serenade to Schofield (which was listed in the Huffington Post as one of the top ten viral videos of 2012) was amusing, but her “one night stand Sam” number was absolutely hilarious. Revolving around a man named Sam and his massive member, the song was clever, balanced and actually rather catchy.
Stewart Lee, Josh Widdicombe, Ed Byrne, Tiffany Stevenson and quick-skit act Jigsaw all gave sturdy performances. Jigsaw, in particular, hit the audience’s level extremely well, with their pervy Father Christmas sketch gaining a standing ovation.
A heady cocktail of comedy and charity rolled into one; the Hammersmith Apollo hosted a fundraiser and a gig which not only gained substantial donations, but also raised awareness for the brilliant work of Friends of the Earth.
Photos: Jon Challicom/Friends of the Earth