However, on the night of 20th February 2020, I found myself in the Charles Bradlaugh pub (more familiar to me as my Monday night quiz haunt) and attempting to convince those I was with to sit as far away from the stage as we could.
As it happened we ended up in a neutral zone of not at the back but also not at the front, in the nether region where the lighting doesn't quite show the horror upon your face as you are caught in the glowing lights of the mischievous comic out for audiences blood.
Unsurprisingly this was my first evening of Comedy Crate standup, a company that has become known for offering a quality evening for a lovely ticket price. So for £12, we got host Rich Wilson, Chris Stokes, Marise Gaughan and headliner Hal Cruttenden and two and a half hours, with breaks of mostly excellent entertainment.
The first of the three individual acts though was Chris Stokes, a replacement for the ill Sara Barron, and a quality replacement he was as well. A cheeky friendly style who played much on his failed marriage and looking younger than his age, and being age checked for antihistamines. There were some clever pieces about the battle between cat and dog people, also linked to his failed marriage. However, a particular favourite was the welcome/thank you piece. Likeable, relaxed and a great performance that got the audience up for the evening.
Host Wilson closed the evening, just having a final sideswipe at gearbox man for keeping the fact he was a ghost from him until the headliner was on. "You didn't give me a chance" was all he had to say.
I'll be back at Comedy Crate as the evening was brilliant, laugh out loud funny and well worth the trip out, even with a slightly dodgy central filling. I'll see you there at another evening soon. I'll be the one hiding in the shadows like one of Cruttenden's creepy middle-aged men, away from the vice-like grip of the next brilliant comics on stage.
A fabulous evening of strong humour in an excellent venue for it, definitely not debauched it or anything.
Performance reviewed: Thursday 20th February 2020 at The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton.
For further details about The Comedy Crate, visit https://www.thecomedycrate.com/