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Review: Grinning Idiot Comedy Club at Newcastle St Dominics

Grinning Idiot Comedy Club
Newcastle St Dominics Catholic Club
Saturday 3rd September 2016

The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club has operated, and still does, in a number of venues around the North East. Despite these travels, it is at St Doms that it is in its spiritual home. As the former main man John Smith often said, the venue had the most discerning comedy audience in the region, if not the country. It is a venue that we’ve witnessed the likes of Reginald D Hunter plying his trade. Indeed Grinning Idiot also introduced us to Sarah Millican and Chris Ramsey. It also brought us the chaos of Charlie Chuck and Phil Kay. Now with David and Della Hadingham on the bridge, the good ship Grinning Idiot continues to charter good quality comedy waters.

The room has been updated since our last visit, a well needed lick of paint and the bar has moved to a sensible place.  The seating remains comfortable and the regular placing of tables is really handy. The aim is that everyone gets a good seat with a good view. Hosting it in a working men’s club also means the night is great value as the drinks don’t cost the earth.

Sam Avery
Photo:  Joanne Oliver for
Carliol Photography
MC Sam Avery took to the stage first. He belonged to the “What’s your name, and what do you do” school of compering shows. From this we discovered that we had a lad on his stag do who does the tickets at York Minster. We don’t normally discuss the audience but this stag crowd where the best behaved we’ve witnessed. They took part but didn’t try to dominate or hijack the show. We also had a baker, someone who recently left the Coldstream Guards, a lad on a night out with his possible future in-laws and a retired Daily Mail journalist in the crowd. Sam was able to keep the crowd laughing without being nasty to the individual in the spotlight.

David Hadingham
Photo:  Joanne Oliver for
Carliol Photography
I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that Margate’s Duncan Oakley has spent some time on the spoken word circuit. Either that or he is a lyricist. His clever play on words showed some poetic skills within his comic delivery. The audience warmed to him as delivered his well thought out lines. The highlight of his set was a reworking of Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight.

After the middle act had failed to show David Hadingham stepped in. He is very personable and he soon had the audience laughing with his, sometimes inappropriate, humour. I had an extra chuckle when I heard someone behind me say “I’ll explain that one to you tomorrow.” 

Mick Ferry
Photo:  Joanne Oliver for
Carliol Photography
Sam Avery shared some ridiculous and funny reviews from trip advisor before introducing the headliner Mick Ferry. A firm favourite of ours, Mick showed his experience as he skilfully worked the room. He is a natural comic and understands how to get a laugh out of the live situation without being cruel. He is able to gently make fun and yet keep the subject of his attention on board. Though why anyone using the toilet during a comedy night is lost on me – the evening features regular breaks between each set. Birthday boy Mick covered topics such as the issues of quitting smoking, the effects of drugs and his take on sex and relationships. He finished the show on a high.

So Grinning Idiot at St Dom’s is back and it’s still a really good night out.  The audience are fans of comedy and understand their role in making the night work. The acts were all very funny and able to keep the room entertained. In short, mission accomplished, and you cannot want more than that.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Carliol Photography ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Carliol Photography on Facebook

Coming up from The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club

Art Centre Washington: Friday 30th September 2016 Doors 7.30pm Tickets £10

With John Fothergill + Kate Lucas + Dean Moore + MC George Zach

Newcastle St Dominic’s Catholic Club: Saturday 1st October 2016 Doors 7.30pm Tickets £10 adv

With John Fothergill + Kate Lucas + Sean Turner + MC David Hadingham


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