Chris Addison: The Time Is Now Again, Dorking Halls


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The Independent Culture

“Advertising slogans stick with me” says Chris Addison. The comedian isn't, however, talking about why he took on a series of much-maligned adverts for a certain insurance company, but is paraphrasing David Cameron's defence of the catchphrase “calm down, dear”, aimed at Labour's Angela Eagle, during PMQs this April.

“I hate the Tories, they are scum” clarifies the 40 year-old star of The Thick Of It, shortly after chastising Cameron for his sexism and suggesting he's worse than the cartoon stereotype of Silvio Berlusconi who, nudge, nudge “genuinely tried to get young people into politics.”

For a brief moment tonight it feels like the spirit of 1980s alternative comedy is back; a comedian prepared to do adverts while railing against the government with a blunt instrument. However, while a few members of his Dorking audience walk out, Addison is careful not to frighten the horses altogether.

“I'm almost embarrassed not to have brought a bottle of wine” he says, using a stock line on his Surrey crowd who he recognises will generally have no difficulty with his “middle class comedy” tonight.

So it proves, albeit only after the slender comic struggles to find his feet for the first quarter-of-an-hour. Hampered initially by poor sound quality Addison recovers with a routine about the summer riots, events he describes as “a mini-series” of which “the Croydon episode” was broken up for him with a bottle of Viognier in front of the TV at his family home in Manchester.

The Mock the Week regular is not afraid to put himself at the heart of middle-class guilt or hypocrisy, and reverts to a type by describing universities being divided into “George or Lenny” establishments, complaining about the postal service and suggesting that “Primark was safer during the riots than it was during a sale.”

His second half is devoted to the idea of free-thinking and questioning anyone who spoonfeeds information from papers to parents. During it Addison further courts his small 'c' conservative audience members by opining of Kate Middleton “the press are desperate to create another Diana to replace the one they broke” and describing Liberty director, Shami Chakrabati as a “histrionic moron.”

Ultimately, however, Addison is not playing to the gallery, he's being true to himself and even-handed with his indignant posturings. A brief closing gag deals with his foray into advertisements, but he barely needs to mention it as the previous two hours have shown his keen wit is undimmed notwithstanding some wobble and waffle that should fall away as the tour continues.