I laughed from quips to strips
It has been said before and I'll say it again, the Comedy Festival Preview Show gives the best rate of punchlines per pound you're ever going to get.
The smorgasbord of a show, as magical MC Dave Spikey repeatedly referred to it, featured bite-sized sets from the sublime to the ridiculous. It didn't disappoint.
Spikey's an old pro, his interplay and analysis the basis for clever, laugh-after-every-line comedy.
While there was a hint of nervousness in his desire to make the show run smoothly, it was endearing rather than distracting.
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First up was Jimmy "come here" Cricket, who warmed an initially cold crowd with his oooo- and aahh-inducing jokes and fumbled juggling. Familiar, yet surprisingly fresh, his set was to be respected.
Next came self-effacing Pat Cahill, a comedian so speedy and succinct it was exhilarating and exhausting to be in the same room as him.
The miserable Matt Rees proved the biggest hit. His jokes touched where it hurt, with quips about failed diets and a pocket book of foreplay he'd found in his parents' room.
Matt's our Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2012 and it's a shame he won't be on during the festival.
Finishing the first half was dithery singer-songwriter John Shuttleworth.
On his vintage keyboard he was the master of silly sounds and snippets from old favourites. His lust for the lyrical mustered just enough laughs to keep us going.
A hybrid of comedian and magician – let's call him a comagician – Piff the Magic Dragon and his sidekick Mr Piffles, a moonwalking Chihuahua, brought the house down.
Piff's deadpan attitude made his trick of pulling an audience member's signed playing card out of a sealed can of dog meat all the more hilarious.
Suzi Ruffell is single and gay. Normally you wouldn't get to know such personal details, but when you're a comedian, your life is fair game.
She's funny. Not in a slap your leg and roll your head back way, but funny all the same.
Gary Delaney is politically incorrect, self-deprecating and daft, but anyone who can do 15 minutes of nothing but one-liners and get a laugh every pop is worth a second look.
I'd like to see Tony Law again, too.
His physical, surreal comedy was undoubtedly what the crowd wanted. But don't ask me what he said. It was too random to remember.
The final act was a surprise. They call it The Greatest Show On Legs. You'll probably know it as "that naked balloon dance Keith Chegwin once performed which made you feel sick".
It was a disturbingly uproarious finale – and, after all, every good party needs a stripper.