Heads up: Simon Amstell

The tortured mophead seeks a comic cure

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What are we talking about? Numb, the new tour by mop-haired TV-presenter-cum-actor-cum-comedian Simon Amstell. It will be an “intensely vulnerable and painfully honest” attempt to “heal himself in public” – again. Think stand-up comedy meets neurotic navel-gazing.

Elevator pitch Uncomfortably numb: Amstell turns in on himself.

The stars Er, Amstell obviously. He's joined by special guest Daniel Simonsen, a Norwegian stand-up and 2008 winner of the So You think You're Funny? competition.

The early buzz The show's already been staged at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, where website Chortle called Amstell “a living embodiment of the tortured clown” but didn't feel he'd quite pulled off the trick: “Just a small magical catalyst could make the wryly funny commentary, inventive thoughts and intense soul-searching amount to a truly brilliant, well-constructed show – but until then, its absence is very noticeable. Fingers crossed it's discovered before the UK run.” The Herald Sun was more enthusiastic: “Wonderfully unsure of himself and full of endearing neurosis ... erudite and economical, Amstell may still be honing the story segues in the latter stages of the show, but this actually works in his favour ... [that it's] already so full of vitality is testament to a true genius – yes genius – of our time.” Crikey.

Insider knowledge Amstell has revealed a painfully personal reason for the show's being called Numb: “It's about a feeling of disconnectedness, a feeling of wanting to love more, wanting to exist in the moment, not perceiving things from the outside but being in them and fully engaged.” Said it was tortured.

It's great that... The tour will likely sail off the back of the new series of his meta sitcom Grandma's House, which has just begun – and has received rather more favourable reviews than the first, so far.

It's a shame that ... it doesn't look like he's going to be returning to TV hosting any time soon. His mischievously cruel antics interviewing celebs on PopWorld/Never Mind the Buzzcocks are missed. Turn the loathing outwards again, Simon!

Hit potential His last tour was well-received and the television career means he's not short of fans. Looks promising.

The details Numb begins 5 May, Vicar Street, Dublin (vicarstreet.ie) and tours till 9 June (simonamstell.co.uk)


Holly Williams