Karen Koren: Arthur finds a new crop of talent

Arthur Smith. Pic: Comp
Arthur Smith. Pic: Comp
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I AM travelling back from London after a weekend of saying my goodbyes to my daughter Katy, who is off on a huge adventure to work in Australia for six months.

Getting a work visa under the age of 30 is something so many young people have the opportunity of doing these days. It’s a brilliant experience.

We never had the luxury of travelling to Australia for such a short period when we were young - you had to move there permanently and the journey took forever - certainly a good few days by plane, or a month by boat. How times have changed.

I was also in London to judge the New Act Of The Year competition, or the NATY’s as they are called. With 15 acts, from stand-up comedians to variety, it is a long evening, though very ably compered by Arthur Smith.

The standard was very high and the winner, a very deserving Daniel Duffy, who we will be seeing a lot more of.

The variety acts were interesting; one girl appeared on stage in a white boiler suit and crash helmet, hitting her head with a drumstick to the music of David Bowie. She then proceeded to explain space to us and imitated the black hole, she put on a black cloak with sparkly stars on it and made ludicrous noises. It was bizarre to say the least.

The variety act to impress me most was The Herbert - not his real name I suspect. He wore white tights (not attractive) had a Beatle haircut and a big shoulder padded jacket. He reminded me very much of Tommy Cooper, though even more of a clown.

His jokes are hard to describe as his humour was very visual and quite childish, but did elicit laughter, which, after all, is what it’s all about.

He came equal second with Jenny Collier, who was a very good new stand-up - she took part in So You Think You’re Funny? last Fringe. Third was Francis Foster, a London school teacher.

All had good material and are definitely ones to watch for the future.