Even in the 90s, when it was a decrepit old movie theatre showing dirty films, it's hard to imagine The Classic feeling as sad and depraved as it did at 10.25pm on a Friday night last month as Tom Sainsbury emerged from the wings to begin his 15-minute stand-up set.

No more than six tables were occupied, mostly by couples. There had been maybe 20-25 people in the audience but that number had dropped precipitously after the preceding comedian became locked in an excruciating exchange with some of the audience, which resulted in the ejection of roughly a quarter of

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