Bar Risa, Hythe Bridge StreetSaturday 16 AprilAfter an hour and a half of freely flowing beer and copius numbers of cocktail pitchers, the Saturday night Jongleurs crowd were always going to be up for a laugh. This certainly made it easier for compere Andy White as he worked his way through some standard audience banter complete with reasonably witty topical comments, before handing a thoroughly warmed-up audience over to Kevin Dewsbury. Dewsbury delivered a series of wry social observations, making it clear what makes him a Kevin and definately not a ‘Kev’, and sharing his frustration at the frequent need to explain that Cheshire is not in fact populated by the fit female denizens of Hollyoaks: “’Cos if it were, why would I leave?” Quite.Next up was self-proclaimed ‘Souf London geezer’ Harry Denford, a man whose bombastic voice is second only to his girth. Blustering on stage in a roar of expletives, Denford’s presence commanded complete attention and he quickly gained control of his audience. After dispensing with the obligatory “fat bastard” and :Souf London” gags, he moved onto more original territory by recounting his experiences as a former airline pilot and his way with the ladies. In these routines he deftly led seemingly predictable gags in unexpected directions, delivering punchy lines to confound the audience. He used bully- boy tactics, and even managed to force some unsuspecting males from the crowd onstage for what seemed little more than a torrent of unnecessarily harsh abuse. But towards the end of the show, even this achieved a comic climax as he somehow convinced them to perform a Full Monty.With a regular Tuesday night slot at London’s Comedy Store and numerous TV and radio appearances under his belt, veteran circuit performer Sean Meo came equipped with a reputation for brutal satire. He began his set tamely, playing the laconic Brit delivering pithy observations on the state of the British railways and illegal immigrant London cabbies. As the set progressed, Meo’s profoundly macabre humour knew no bounds, venting spleen on Germans and starving African children with equal vehemence. Gags about terrorist taxi drivers and deformed midgets occasionally stretched beyond the bounds of decency, yet Meo broadly managed to walk the fine line between humour and discomfort with the ease of a consummate professional.Meo’s biggest crowd pleaser was undoubtedly his audience banter. Within minutes he honed in on his chosen unwitting targets for the evening, manipulating their responses to his seemingly innocuous questions and then launching into a relentless barrage of cutting jibes. With a group of hairdressers in the front row, he was never going to be short of material. Despite often resorting to cheap insults, his vituperative wit remained close enough to real life to ensure that laughs were plentiful: proof positive that well-aimed invectives will always be funny however unashamedly un-PC.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2005
Jay Rodriguez hopes to be part of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad despite what the Southampton forward knows was a disappointing England debut. Press Association That was a match Rodriguez was forced to watch from the sidelines, with Hodgson not giving him any more minutes after a debut that led to criticism from some quarters. However, such talk has had little impact on the former Burnley man, who appears to have cocooned himself away and focused on life with Southampton. “I don’t really listen to whether anyone says anything,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously I wasn’t happy with my performance in the game, but the experience was unbelievable for me. “I took a lot of positives from that, but I would have obviously liked it to have gone better and to get the win. It was a hard game and I thought Chile played really well.” Lallana’s displays have seen him widely tipped to be included in Hodgson’s World Cup squad, but the same cannot be said for Rodriguez. Some bookmakers price him at 10/1 to be on the plane to Brazil – the same odds as West Brom’s uncapped Saido Berahino – but that will not stop the Southampton man trying. “I think you’ve always got to set your targets as high as you can and I think that is the highest target you can try to achieve,” Rodriguez said of a potential World Cup spot. “It would be a great feeling to go to a World Cup, but I have a lot of hard work to do. I need to keep trying to improve as a player for Southampton.” Rodriguez has certainly reacted in the right way since returning to club matters, playing a starring role in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City. It was a match that ended Saints’ three-match losing streak – the first under manager Mauricio Pochettino – and a result that will give them renewed hope heading to in-form Newcastle this weekend. “The City game has given us a buzz, but we have always had confidence and belief even when we were getting beaten,” Rodriguez said. “I thought the performances were still good and I think it shows to keep belief in the team because we can get results against a great side. “I think the manager was really happy with the way we were playing. When times are hard, you’ve got to believe more in what we are doing and I think we have done. “Newcastle are doing really well. They are higher than us in the table and that reflects how well they are doing. “We know they are a strong side, it is a good atmosphere up at their place as well, so it is something to look forward to and I hope we can stop them from keeping their run going.” If Southampton are to get a positive result in the north east, much could depend on top scorer Rodriguez. The forward took time to settle after what was at the time a club-record £6million move from Burnley last summer, but he has thrived since Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins at the helm in January. “Since he has come in, he has given me the belief, the confidence, and shown me the way to play,” Rodriguez said. “It has obviously helped me massively. It is all credit to Mauricio for helping me improve as a player. “It is a good team to be involved in. We keep the ball, play well and we work hard. We’re all honest lads and it is a good team.” The 24-year-old was last month given a surprise call-up along with club-mate Adam Lallana for the international friendly double-header at Wembley. The uncapped pair both started in England’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chile, with Lallana impressing enough to also begin the disappointing 1-0 loss to Germany days later.