• Amy Toledano

Ben Pope (Work In Progress) at Hello Darling

What is it?

Back at the Cockatiel Club for my second time this week – this time to see Ben Pope’s new stand-up set. A work-in-progress show, he tests out new material for an audience crowded into a space that resembles a sex dungeon if someone lit it on fire. Anxiety-inducing? Undeniable. Until Pope starts his set.

What is it about?

A slightly goofy, middle-class ‘lapsed Catholic’ (his words) who recounts that every male celebrity he’s ever looked up to is gradually falling off their moral pedestal. Discussing everything from feeling like a vampire with gonorrhoea to having a priest at your mate’s stag do; despite his protestations that the show remains a work-in-progress, Pope’s fine-tuned charisma keeps the crowd laughing along and occasionally sounding like a tortured bird of paradise. (Confused? So were we.)

How did it make me feel?

Ben Pope. Benedict Pope. Clearly his parents wanted their son to either become a member of the clergy or inevitably go into show-business with a name like that. While his agnosticism holds him back from a career in the clergy, thankfully he’s right at home on the mic. Wildly relatable and refreshingly honest, Pope slickly cultivates the fine line between storytelling and comedic oversharing.

Now in his late twenties, Pope discusses the nightmare of still dating when your mates start going off and getting married, and the difficulty of ignoring the red flags, and viewing people’s weddings from the other side of the bar. Pope’s observational musings on life, love, hoarding, drugs and every messy, confusing thing in between certainly make for a very entertaining set. Would definitely go again.

Where is it playing?

Ben Pope is back at the Cockatiel Club at Hello Darling on Thursday 6th February or see his website benpopecomedy.com for upcoming gigs.

Anything else?

I think my favourite line is ‘houses don’t cost money anymore, they cost relatives’.

Leah x

Ben Pope (Work in Progress) is playing at Hello Darling until the 6th February 2020.

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