Always Be Comedy: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2018
Nick Helm’s Xmas F*ck Fest 4: Pleasance Theatre, Islington, London, 2018
Always Be Comedy (2 shows): The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2019
Nick Helm: Phoenix From The Flames: West End Centre, Aldershot, 2019
Nick Helm’s Xmas F*ck Fest 5: Pleasance Theatre, Islington, London, 2019
Always Be Comedy Online: (2 shows): Online: 2020
Nick Helm: All Killer, Some Filler: Online: 2020
Regular favourite Nick Helm appeared to Always Be Comedy in April 2018 for a work-in-progress headline set which did not disappoint. Helm’s on-stage act is a hard-hitting yet endearing beast who intimidates his audience, but the joke is always on him. The new work-in-progress was mostly delivered from standing on a table and featured a song that had to be recited to perfection before attempting to carry on with the rest of the set. This worked brilliantly ranting at the audience for getting the lyrics wrong. His targeting of me crying with laughter at him in the row was truly inspired and hilarious. The more aggressive and insulting he was to me, the more I laughed. As ever, the combination of helplessness and despair he projected on stage was an absolute joy to watch.
In December 2018, I returned for a second year to Nick’s Helm’s Xmas F*ck Fest 4, his very popular charity show at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington. As ever, fuelled by aggression, frustration and anger, he attempted to take charge of the night which featured top comedy acts, anarchic Christmas games and songs. One inspired game involved several of the audience on stage each drinking from a bottle of Advocaat and being asked whether they like it or not. The drinking of this from a foil mice pie cup is a show tradition known as the Christmas Oyster and became a deal for Helm’s admittance for not liking eggs (from which Advocaat is made) and him being prepared to try it. Self-penned rock songs performed by Helm and his band The Helmettes were belted out at regular intervals such as One Man Mega Myth, Love Ya Tonight and (You Gotta) Believe In Yourself which the audience loved (incidentally, his albums that I bought for Christmas and my friend has on her playlist are available on ITunes or through his website). For an all-out riotous evening, this annual treat is the very best.
Helm returned to Always Be Comedy again in May and June 2019 for a new work-in-progress set in practice for the Edinburgh Fringe. In November 2019, I travelled to Aldershot, a place I had never been before to watch his new tour show Phoenix From The Flames. I had missed his show at the Edinburgh Fringe so it was so great to see him back gigging with his menacing style. Covering serious themes of mental health, bullying, depression as well as his love of film, the show was intelligent, terrifying, relatable, angry and hysterical.
In December 2019, for the third year, I saw Nick’s Helm’s Xmas F*ck Fest 5 at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington. Once again, the show was a joyous riot with more comedy guests, games, and rock anthems. An example of a superb sketch was Helm’s take on a current Christmas crisp advert that had members of the audience on stage with him eating as many packets of crisps as possible from an open box strewn across the stage. The number of crisps consumed was a hysterical sight and I was crying with laughter. The charity show raises a lot of money every year for charity and is always a brilliant showcase.
2020 was a strange year with everyone in lockdown due to a global crisis. Always Be Comedy produced shows online and in April and August of that year, one of the guest headliners was the mighty Helm cheering the audience up with classic jokes, stories and songs. In May, Helm also online introduced his 2016 concert All Killer, Some Filler live from the 02 Kentish Town from 2016 which was an incredible display of music with his band and some excellent comedy in front of a packed crowd. After the show, Helm did a Q & A which was a fascinating insight into the mind of the comedy genius. Helm is a true original and terrific powerhouse of a comedian.