Comedy: Henry Rollins Hammersmith Apollo London oo999
Inevitably, it is with Bush that Rollins kicks off his two and a half hour set. There is always a great expectancy when an American gets their teeth into their leader, a hope for a new insight. Unfortunately, Rollins's riff is Bush-by-numbers, or, more appositely, by letters. Yes Bush has trouble public speaking, yes, he makes a lot of gaffes and yes, that recent remark about "spacial entrepreneurs" was a hoot, but where's the beef? Eloquent, highly articulate, and an avid campaigner Rollins has the capacity to undermine the leader of the free world on the issues, but he barely hints at that here.
If Rollins expects his devoted audiences to hate he presumably wants to give them ammunition. But tonight not only was the arsenal bare but there's a confusing case of friendly fire. With glee he tells of his recent morale-boosting trips to meet troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, involving frolics with Kuwaiti air traffic control and mocking the decor of Saddam's palace. Though vehemently anti-war, he tells us he made the trips because the young people out there are "confused, lonely, focused and determined." His words are at first glance contradictory and one wonders if his stance is; whether he likes it or not he is helping people do a better job as an occupying force.
Moreover, can we be implored to hate by a man who makes hay with stories of his Hollywood exploits? Rollins, whose film credits include Johnny Mnemonic and Lost Highway, spins a yarn about getting the part in the as yet unreleased comedy The Alibi, featuring Selma Blair and Steve Coogan. Apparently, he had his chums on the set cracking up when, shooting a scene in a real sex shop, he asked the owner if they sold a spray cream sex toy for the lactose-intolerant. This was supposed to be the Shock and Awe tour.
Though he still adopts a power stance as he tells his brisk stories, the highly toned performer looked far from packing verbal punches. Focused, humane, never boring and without self-destructive vices Rollins clearly has his personal strengths but his delivery has come down a few notches. His closing material about dealing with telephone salespeople was inspired, how he engages with them to the point of making them pity their own lives, but I couldn't help but think I wanted Rollins circa 1993 or a Bill Hicks, a George Carlin or more latterly a Doug Stanhope to deliver it. Maybe even an Iggy.
tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
EastEnders Christmas Day special, TV review: It's all about the Carters this Christmas - and Danny Dyer is brilliant
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Doctor Who: Jenna Coleman to stay on as Peter Capaldi’s assistant Clara Oswald in next series
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader