Sara Pascoe w/ Diane Morgan @ Mandela Hall, Belfast

Philomena Cunk

The Comedy Club at Mandela Hall is a fairly popular event, regardless of who is performing, but it seemed a testament of sorts to the forward-thinking nature of the NI comedy crowd that the place was packed and the bill consisted of two female comedians. One better known than the other but neither household names.

Colin Murphy did his usual shtick, and while it’s not to my taste much of the audience seemed to enjoy. I was considering forgiving him his broadness, and then he fell at the only  hurdle a compere really must not fall at: he got Diane Morgan’s name wrong, and we all suddenly remembered we were in good old unsophisticated Belfast.

Morgan, better known as Philomena Cunk (pictured), a witless talking head from Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, took it on the chin. The hilarious vacancy of her on-screen persona was replaced with the best kind of observational comedy, where you find yourself enthusiastically nodding your head and grinning, suddenly aware of the absurdity of whole swathes of modern life. Themes of death, relationships and of course taphophobia (the fear of being buried alive) were tackled head on by Morgan. Her extreme Northern-ness recommended her to the Belfast audience, and her set felt disappointingly short, perhaps Murphy could have lent her a few minutes.

Headliner Sara Pascoe is the more famous of the two comedians having been on the telly quite a lot, most notably on QI, a fact that Pascoe used to great effect when comparing her experience on QI with some people’s insistently joyful experience of parenthood.

The comedian talks women’s issues in such a way that half the audience probably didn’t realise she was pushing a feminist agenda, they were too busy chortling away. Pascoe covers topics from her ovaries and earning more than her boyfriend to glass ceilings and aging all with a wit and intelligence that puts you at ease whilst simultaneously pissing yourself. She was so good that even Colin Murphy remembered her name – you should too. Eve Rosato

Go here to check out the forthcoming listings for Queen’s Comedy Club.