Review: Arthur Smith’s Laughter Clinic @ Clapham Grand


Arthur Smith’s Laughter Clinic had everything from a semi-naked university professor dispensing health advice to the unrelenting energy of Harry Hil


By Matthew Reason

Arthur Smith’s Laughter Clinic had everything from a semi-naked university professor dispensing health advice to the unrelenting energy of Harry Hill.

The packed Clapham Grand played host to the Klevis Kola Foundation event. The charity plays a vital role in helping young refugees and asylum seekers that flee torture and terror in their homeland and come to South London.

Comedy stalwart Arthur had jokes about everything from toilet conversation mix-ups to barbed jibes about the ineptitude of the government. He kept in form throughout the night, always getting the biggest laughs.

Arthur then introduced Professor Ian Roberts who he assured, if nothing else, definitely ‘had an outfit to get you going’.

The lecturer from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Studies romped on to the stage in disturbingly tight cycle shorts and a top. His act started well and was peppered with well worked jokes but you could tell he was more akin to lecturing than stand up.

During his act he stripped off his top and mooned the audience before throwing skittles into the crowd.

Next was 22-year-old Chris Turner with a memorable act which ended with what can only be described as a musical masterpiece. He proposed a ‘white guy in a wifebeater doing a rap’ about five audience suggestions. The unusual Hip-Hop subjects of Jeremy Hunt, dysentery, water cress, lawnmowers and a conduit proved to be comedy gold.

The standout performance of the night came from Harry Hill, a man who needs little introduction.

The Perrier award winning act of a doctor who studied at St George’s Hospital was energetic, ridiculous, cleverly worked and an onslaught of non-stop laughs.

From my front-row seat I was accused of being a bad neighbour who, through a series of events involving putting rubbish in a neighbours bin, had caused an old woman to be at death’s door.

He moved, at incredible pace, between surreal tales and sometimes poignant yet silly gags.

Nothing was out of his remit and he applied his fast-paced surreal technique to everything.

Dr Phil Hammond, MD for Private Eye, established comedian and practicing doctor, kept the audience in stitches with his tales of anal insertions and political incompetence.

Drawing on his experience in A&E he mixes the satirical with the outrageous seamlessly. He makes lightbulbs in unruly places and the bungling Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, fit side by side with striking ease.

Dr Phil is a must see, one-of-a-kind, act. His ability to attack hard issues without alienating the audience is second to none and his act will leave you not only in fits of laughter but enlightened and possibly enraged about the government today.

Another act on the night, Elena Procopiu, a Romanian born comedian and actor, proved to be someone to keep an eye out for and the closing act, Tiffany Stevenson, actor in the Office amongst other shows, definitely hit home with a lot of the couples in the audience.

Throughout the show Arthur Smith was a resoundingly perfect host and was eager to explain why he does charity work.

He said: “I feel a lot of sympathy for the children. It is right and proper that we should treat these people humanely.”

He said the political nature of events for charities like Klevis Kola is more enjoyable. He spoke about how hard it must be for asylum seekers to come here and settle in, especially in the face of a prejudicial minority.

When speaking about the other guests he jokingly claimed that he is the reason the ‘young’ Harry Hill is where he is today. Harry, who knew Arthur’s Brother and Klevis Kola patron, Richard Smith, through St George’s Hospital, had asked Arthur for advice when he first started out in comedy.

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