Six comedians walk into a bar…

The One Liner Show

Review by Tyler Arthur

What do you call six comedians in an underground room, with a mish-mash of seating and a single microphone? The One Liner Show.
Hosted by the incredibly enthusiastic Chris Norton Walker, the show was an hour and a half of one-liners, rapid quips and endless puns.

Held at the Exchange Bar, the Wednesday evening event helped to kick-off 19 days of laughter at the Leicester Comedy Festival.

The venue offered its downstairs seating to the audience of between 20 and 30, creating an intimate and comfortable setting, cosy enough to lend itself to crowd interaction – which was very much utilised, especially by the quick-witted host.


Hilarious Host – Chris Norton Walker

Chris Norton Walker opened the show and warmed everyone up with his contagious energy and set the tone for high-paced puns and constant laughs. Some of his jokes were so simple that you question how you can’t get up on the stage yourself. His delivery was loud, excitable and well-paced. The one liners came thick and fast, and in every interval between other comedians he came back with bigger and better jokes. Seeing him as the compere in this show was the best advert possible for his own solo spot, which is also on during the Leicester comedy festival. Even if just a warm up for Walker, he stole the show and he definitely provided many of the highlights throughout.

The first comedian to be introduced was Adele Cliff, the sole female comedian. She shared some of her previously successful material (highly placed puns and jokes of past competitions) – which went down very well, and then she tested the water with some new material ahead of the UK Pun Championships  on Monday, February 12). Some jokes didn’t get the response she hoped for, but she kept going and concluded with more tried and tested jokes which again had the audience giggling.


Hard Man – Mad Ron at work

‘Mad Ron’ came next, and he appeared to be a fan favourite right from the word go. His persona was funny on its own, and his Phil Mitchell-esque voice and character makes him unique and he provides a different type of experience when watching him in character. The topic of his comedy is very much driven by the criminal whom he portrays, and many of the jokes had the whole audience smiling. Ron was the only comedian who utilised any physical comedy, when using basic props briefly, and this was a very funny and subtle set up for his next punchline. Ron sometimes wavered from the one liners and puns for slightly longer set-ups, but the punchlines of the hard man were well received.

Third up was Winter Foenander, who seemed less of a natural one-liner comedian, but he found himself very comfortable when interacting with the crowd. The regret of a man who tried to go to the bathroom during his set was very evident. His improvisation was a strength, when the more scripted jokes lulled, meaning that he was able to maintain some form of pace. When he tried to go for a slightly more vulgar joke, it split the crowd, and he visibly took note not to continue down that path.


Rob Coleman came next, he didn’t take notice of the audience’s response to his colleague’s racier joke and he came out swinging. However, Coleman’s pacing and multi-punchline format for the dirtier jokes created a ‘oh god… oh my god… please stop!’ reaction from the crowd – which you could tell is exactly what he wanted. At one point, he proclaimed “you’re sick Leicester” when the assembly was still laughing at his worst jokes. He still had some of the shorter format jokes, and he was able to utilise a surprise factor with many of his punchlines. His on-stage persona shares elements of Milton Jones’, where he creates an aura of ‘I’m not quite sure what’s going on’, before rattling off jokes at a rate of knots.


Punderdog – Tony Cowards finished the show on a high

Last, but definitely not least, came Tony Cowards. A grand finale, in my opinion. He was inarguably the most one-liner centric of all five performers, and his delivery was brilliant. He even made a mistake on one of the jokes, but came back to it and it was somehow still funny, even though the punchline was spoiled. The pacing was the best of anybody, and it seemed like every single punchline hit home. Each and every joke could easily have been accompanied by a live drummer, badum-tsh. Some of his quips were subtle, some weren’t – but either way, a laugh could be heard. His confidence, matched only by the host, Norton Walker, was evidently a huge asset in his performance. The cherry-on-top of said confidence, came at the end of his scripted set, when he spent the last few minutes making jokes on the spot about topics of the crowd’s choice. As he put it, he ‘walked the comedy high wire’, with impressive success – topics varying from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the workplace, he didn’t stumble, his only difficulty came when trying to formulate a joke about ‘gangster rap’, but that can be forgiven.

Overall, the free-entry or pay-what-you-want show was absolutely worth attending, and was a worthy opening for many, who were at their first show of the 800+ which are being held in Leicester’s Comedy Festival. Not every joke hit its target, not every audience member found the same things funny, but that is comedy. The hosting of Chris Norton Walker was refreshing and hilarious, and Tony Cowards brought a hilarious end to the comedy, for the evening. All of the comics showed promise in patches, and in their own shows would definitely be worth a watch, depending what you’re looking for.


Below are the upcoming shows in the Leicester Comedy Festival from those who took part in the One Liner Show.

Chris Norton Walker – “Yeah!” – The Cookie, Sunday 11th, 2pm

Adele Cliff: UK Pun Championships – De Montfort Hall, Monday 12th, 7.30pm

Adele Cliff: Sheep  (WIP) – The Sound House, Sunday 18th, 2.15pm

Winter Foenander – Aside Effect – Manhattan 34, Friday 16th, 6pm

Rob Coleman – Grumpy Boots – The Cookie, Saturday 17th, 2pm

Tony Cowards – Punderdog – Just the Tonic at BrewDog, Thursday 15th, 8pm