First up, Irishman Dónal O'Neill regaled us with the results of his research into the end of men and the rise of women. Next up, Englishman Richard Holmes introduced us to his Plan B and toured us through the three cities he's lived in: Birmingham, Bangkok, and Budapest. Hungarian Attila Szigeti almost had a clean sweep with his hilarious account of how the lack of 10c nearly ruined his love life. Another Emerald Isler Mark Downey, a self-professed SAHD (stay-at-home-dad), introduced the non-Hungarian section of the audience to the concept of hoovering snot out of a kid's nose and shared with everyone the torturous caring for an infant boy's genitalia. Life will never be the same again. Last up, Englishman Ryan Philips delivered some embarrassing clangers, as he amused us with his (failed!) attempts to speak Hungarian.
With the easier (!) prepared speeches over, it was time to start on the impromptus and to see who really had the gift of the gab - variously defined as (i) to talk idly or incessantly, as about trivial matters, (ii) the ability to talk readily, glibly, and convincingly, and (iii) the ability to speak easily and confidently in a way that makes people want to listen to you and believe you.
The audience were in fine fettle and the judges (especially the Welsh representation) were really taking to the spirit of the Blitz.
First up, Ryan went to the audience with two choices: the true meaning of civilisation and is there a time when it's better to lie than tell the truth. They went for the latter and there followed some dark secrets from Ryan's dating past when he would attempt to pass himself off as anything but a student. Richard's choice for the audience was stark: paving stones or singing in the bathroom. Their mean streak showing in all its glory, the audience went for the former but Richard had the last laugh. In what was a truly inspired account of being a paving stone in his last life, he managed the first clean sweep (all 10s) in GOTG 2015 for an impromptu speech. I think the last one was Pat Loughran's take on Michael Jackson's glove way back in 2011. With his work cut out for him, Dónal followed, again going to the audience who remained notably quiet on his first salsa lesson, opting instead for the more philosophical me, myself, and I. The Irishman didn't disappoint and in the second clean sweep of the night, he introduced Hungary to the new holy trinity. With two clean sweeps preceding him, Mark was under pressure. He gave the audience a choice between his picks: The moment you realised Santa didn't exist (JFW is still in shock) and the worst thing about being dumped. I'm invoking the 'what happens at sea stays at sea' rule here and suffice to say that if you weren't there on the night you missed the worst (best?) thing about Mark being dumped. Last up, Attila picked tablecloths (authored by the same person who suggested paving stones!) and why there is no democracy in marriage. The audience chose the latter and we were left with images of tall women and short men. The things you learn at GOTG.
The judges - Wendy, Tim, Brent, Elaine and Tim C - did their job with spirit and took the audience reaction into account. With one point in it, the man to take his place in the 2015 final next month is he of the holy trinity - Dónal O'Neill. We can only hope that he brings all three of himself to the gig.
Massive thanks to Zsofi and the gang at Mozsár for hosting us (and donating their venue). It's a great little place with full video and audio capability should you be in need of somewhere to meet. Thanks, too, to Granthill Fitness Studios for the bottle of whisky and to the IHBC for the trophy. And making the night work with its usual aplomb were Steve on photos, Kath on tickets, Ilona and Zsuzsa on the roving mics, and Jeremy on scores. Thanks to you all.
When the Cotton Club dropped the bomb that they wouldn't be open this month, the frantic search for a new venue began. Huge thanks are due to Zsuzsa and Patrick from the Caledonia for negotiating and helping out with chairs and tables and glasses - yez are angels!
The final is in March - on Thursday the 12th. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance so be sure to get yours when they go on sale (hopefully next week). Watch this space for details.