Comedy: One man and his mike

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IT'S WHAT you might call the "I'd like to have a drink with that bloke" factor. It doesn't matter what some rare comedians talk about on stage, people just want to bathe in their presence. So however much nonsense Eddie Izzard spouts about skiing elephants or secret-agent socks, audiences will lap it up. It's a case of "Never mind the material, feel the warmth".

The young, yarn-spinning comedian Adam Bloom is scarcely in the Izzard class - who is? - but there is a similarity in that people do seem to relish being in the same room as him.

Admittedly, Bloom's one-man-and-his-mike approach is seen in some circles as hopelessly old-fashioned, and his choice of subject matter is never going to set the world alight. During his show at the Gaslight Club in Peterborough last Sunday night, he managed to fit in two of the world's most done-to-death stand-up topics, McDonald's and bottoms, within a few minutes. Later, I found myself thinking, "Not another comedian riffing about a tiff with his girlfriend."

For all that, his inclusive, ungimmicky style reminded us that you don't have to dress up as, say, a security guard or a Page 3 girl in order to win an audience over. Infectious enthusiasm will do it every time.

Commanding a room is, of course, much harder than it looks, but Bloom got off to a flying start at Peterborough with that old stand-up standby, insulting the neighbouring town. "I was in Wisbech last night," he told us. "They hate you lot. They had 12 reasons why, and they showed me on all their fingers."

With shades of Phil Kay, he soon had the confidence to plunge into the audience and conduct the show from a table-top in the middle of the room. He was even able to make light of the fact that he'd forgotten to bring his microphone from the stage. "It's like sex without a condom. So I probably won't last as long as I planned to."

He sealed the rapport with the punters by ganging up with them against a bloke who was brandishing a mobile phone. Bloom ended up commandeering it and offering advice to its owner about its dodgy reception: "Next time the phone company sends you a bill, write out a cheque and Tippex out every third word."

Beyond the banter, Bloom is also capable of more challenging material. At one point, he mused: "There's one subject that's never discussed in comedy, and that's disabled people" - this was greeted by silence - "and that's why."

Bloom was recently voted stand-up of the year by Time Out magazine, and greater things no doubt await him. His mainstream, cheeky-chappie persona would, for instance, be well-suited to hosting a BBC 1 game show. Didn't he do well?

Adam Bloom is on nationwide tour until March