Thom Hodkinson's Pointless Opinions III - "Right Here, In Birmingham, UK!"
by, 05-09-2013 at 11:31 AM (1235 Views)
Howdy once more. I know it's been a while, but this had to be mentioned.
Last week, I had the esteemed privilege of being in the audience for a night of Wrestling-based humour and stand-up. The headline act: The Hardcore Icon Mick Foley!
Before I get the backlash of people telling me how often he tours and how everyone goes to his shows, I don't give a damn (Where's Ron Simmons when you need him). I've seen Foley perform live once before when he first toured the UK, and I was even lucky enough to see William Regal's One-Off show last year during the WWE's November tour of our little islands. So when it comes to the Wrestling Stand-Up shows, I know what to expect. Thankfully, it doesn't change my level of enjoyment one little bit. In fact, it's amazing how much more material Foley has. I was expecting a few new jokes or anecdotes but a lot of recycled material. Instead, it was a totally fresh set that had me and my group of friends loving every minute.
Before I go all fan-boy over the Artist formerly known as Dude Love, allow me to deliver my praise to the other aspects of the show. First off, the venue for the night was Birmingham's Town Hall, which is a lot grander than the name suggests. It's a full-on theatre. I've tried my hand at Stand-Up and cannot comprehend the sheer number of seats that the acts were performing too. Compare that to the small comedy club I saw Foley in first time around, it's like seeing your favourite wrestler spend years in the Indies, then get signed up by WWE, but they don't lose any of the qualities that made you love them in the first place. I'd like to call this the CM Punk Effect.
The host for the evening, as always, was one Chris Brooker (@TheBrookerMan for all of you tweeters out there). He basically runs the Foley tours and organised Regal's show too. He's a great compère, warming up the audience nicely for the others with some ace jokes, including one about a member of the Cenation that truly deserved a round of applause. The best thing about having Brooker as host is that you know he is just like you. A wrestling fan who understand the biz and appreciates it. He's got such a nice and inviting demeanour, I was very tempted to try and convince him out for a drink (No Butt Stuff)
The support act for the night was one Brendon Burns (@BrendonBurns on that there Twitter), A notorious Australian comic who doesn't shy away from controversy or depravity. Perfect. Much like Daniel Bryan's "Yes" or Funaki's "Indeed", Burns gave the audience a sort-of catchphrase courtesy of an anecdote surrounding "The Edwardian Gentleman Heckler". If you ever get to see him do this routine, you are in for a treat. I'm not too sure that I can ever look at The Great Khali in the same way ever again. Or his mom.... yeah....
Brendon Burns was bloody brilliant (a little alliteration for you English Language fans out there) and just about managed to squeeze in some intermission dvd & book sales in the lobby. Lucky me, I got a DVD signed by the man himself and it's also bloody brilliant. "Y'know, Love 'n' God 'n' Metaphysics 'n' Shit" is thoroughly recommended, so look for it! I think I'm a total fan of his now, mainly due to his comments about Randy Orton. Seriously, if he tours anywhere near you, get a ticket.
So, onto our main event, and I will keep this brief. If you've been to a Mick Foley gig before, you know that he tries his hardest to include the fair-weather comedy fans. But the wrestling anecdotes are so many in number and so rich in detail, I can't imagine what the small minority must've been thinking when hearing references to Al Snow & Dean Ambrose & Hells in Cells & Undertakers.
I'm not a fair-weather comedy fan. I am a wrestling fan. I am a Mick Foley fan. I came for the stories and the inside-jokes. I came for little nods and winks. I came for the cheap pops "Right Here, In Birmingham, UK!". I came for the inevitable UK/US Cultural Barriers (Apparently Foley doesn't like Cricket, which is a shame) I came for it all. And I left a happy young man. As any fan knows, Mick Foley is one of the nicest, most polite people you'll ever care to meet. He's the most solid, real thing we have to Father Christmas (Santa Claus, St. Nick, That tubby dude what brings presents). I had to fight the urge to run on stage and hug him. You can't not love the guy. HE'S MICK FUCKING FOLEY. HE FELL OFF THE CELL INTO A TABLE, GOT UP AND WAS PUT THROUGH THE FUCKING CELL. HE LOST HIS EAR IN A MATCH FOR FUCK'S SAKE. HIS EAR! If you don't love & respect a man for doing that & more and still having the ability to smile after, You're dead inside and shall never have my last rolo. EVER!
I know wrestling was/is his life, but I'd be keen to see exactly how he'd handle a less partisan crowd. A set of generic jokes rather than anecdotes. To see him pull off that stunt would be greatly impressive indeed.
Afterwards, many of us got to meet the great man after the show with a fairly well organised meet & greet session. This was a chance to get a simple autograph & photo with Foley to keep with pride. A friend of mind got his Mr Socko signed and even managed to get Foley to wear it for a photo or two. Being the kind, wonderful soul that I am (yes Ladies, I am single) I scored one of the 5 Foley tickets I bought for my Brother for Christmas. Even better than that, I bought him "Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood & Sweatsocks" to get signed by the man himself (Aren't I just the best?). Foley was even gracious enough to sign my friends forehead. Highlight for me though was asking for advice on comedy and stand-up. Foley & Chris Brooker were very helpful and encouraging, which is such an up-lifting feeling. One day, with luck, I'll be there on stage with the two of them, making jokes about which Faces suck the worst