The Establishment Club, comedy review

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, London

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The Independent Culture

When this reprise of Peter Cook's 1960s satirical club debuted in 2012 it was an underwhelming affair. George Galloway and comedian Terry Alderton topped and tailed the bill that night. They do so again today, but luckily the parallels end there.

Since then the club, backed by Victor Lewis Smith, Keith Allen and Mike O'Brien of Laughing Stock records, has transferred from a Ronnie Scott's soirée to a more intimate afternoon slot in the basement of Bentley's and has stripped back the number of acts.

More crucially the venture has scored the palpable experimental hit they have been looking for. They did it by pairing up Glaswegian-Jewish comedy legend Jerry Sadowitz and “pope of aetheists” Richard Dawkins for a 20 minute q&a.

Initially adopting a Peter Cook persona, Sadowitz introduced Dawkins as Stephen Hawking and then proceeded to 'roast' his 'co-star' with such pressing questions as: “Did god create the holocaust to prove to the Jews he didn't exist?”, “Evolution...but how do you explain Dundonians?” and “Why do Springboks jump?”

Anyone who had a sweepstake on how long it would take before Dawkins would become irritated was disappointed. He was pretty game, even when Sadowitz suggested that scientists merely provided “false answers for problems that don't exist”.