Jim Tavare Mathew Hardy Punchline Comedy Club February 11 It's a wonderful gift to be able to make people laugh by doing nothing. Unless you wish to be serious, that is. But Briton Jim Tavare surely could never be serious. He could have been the classic ugly kid in the playground who turned to humour for acceptance, and now, at 34, can turn around and stick his double bass up the backside of his former schoolboy peers. I'm sure Tavare won't mind me pointing out one of his lease aesthetic qualities. He does, after all, look like one of the least attractive patients in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. But his startling appearance, complete with dinner suit and the largest of stringed instruments, guarantees he will stand out, as will his infectious style that had the audience in stitches from the moment he came on and . . . said nothing. 'He's like Tommy Cooper,' whispered someone behind me. He was right. Tavare's style is dead-pan and full of nods, winks and glances. A few words here, a few there. You found yourself laughing in anticipation when Cooper arrived on stage. And you do with Tavare. Some people can stand up and be funny. Others simply are funny, and Tavare is one of them. He's like a footballer who beats his man without touching the ball. A shimmy here, a duck of the shoulder there. He left one heckler for dead with a quick nod to the guy's bald patch while winning the crowd over in sympathy for his own lack of crowning glory. A perfect one-two. And the boy can play that thing, though I've never seen it tickled guitar style before. For the most part, the bass just acts as his side-kick, something else to silently fuss over while his audience laughs on. Like Billy Connolly's banana boots, one day he'll ditch it and do very nicely on his own. Mathew Hardy, who preceded Tavare, was more the classic story-teller. The quick-witted Aussie barely drew breath, and apart from the odd ramble and maybe one or two interactions with the audience too many that upset his rhythm, he went down a treat. As a soccer pundit may say: the boy done good.