Comedy Struck Off and Die Bloomsbury Theatre, London

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The Independent Culture
The vast majority of stand-ups are laddish, white thirtysomething blokes telling knob gags. The unique selling-point of Struck Off and Die is that it is laddish, white thirtysomething blokes telling knob gags in white coats. The two fully qualified GPs who comprise Struck Off and Die, Drs Phil Hammond (ginger and rude) and Tony Gardner (dark and rude), run through the sort of bodily-functions jokes that even Roy "Chubby" Brown might baulk at; but, perhaps because of the letters after their names, they get away with it. Indeed, almost in spite of yourself, you find yourselves roaring along at gags that taste forgot.

Medics, of course, have a reputation as graduates of the single-entendre, drop-your-trousers-for-a-laugh school of humour. Hammond fondly recalls medical student revues which gloried in such titles as "Back Passage to India" and "On Her Majesty's Secret Cervix". He sighs nostalgically as he remembers "the things we used to do to get a cheap lavatorial laugh" - like linking himself to a partner via a catheter and exchanging urine while singing George Benson's "Greatest Love of All" - before hastily adding, "but we've moved on."

Not by much. Through sketches in a mock-up consulting-room and straight stand-up, Hammond and Gardner give us a glimpse into the hallowed inner sanctum of the doctor's practice and reveal it to be as tasteless, sexist and downright puerile as the worst rugby club. Throwing in a little bit of politics in the manner of Ben Elton, they hurl a few well-aimed scalpels at government health policies, entrepreneurial hospital managers, drug companies, alternative medicine, private medicine and bullying consultants. "What is it about a white coat," Hammond wonders, "that turns a perfectly normal human being into a patronising wanker?" The large medical contingent in the audience - Hammond advises us to "look down your row for someone fat, pompous and laughing just a bit too heartily" - laps up these bits. Suffice it to say that the show-stopping number at the end features two medics with pained expressions, a catheter, and a song by George Benson.

n Ends tomorrow. Booking: 0171-388 8822

JAMES RAMPTON

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