Michael McIntyre, Hammersmith Apollo, London
Wednesday 05 November 2008
If comedy is supposedly going to err towards the risk-averse in the post-Brand/post-Ross BBC era: then cometh the hour, cometh Michael McIntyre.
The fact that this ebullient, rotund-but-not-corpulent, and cartoonish entertainer is a safe pair of hands should not be held against him, though, and comparisons to Jerry Seinfeld and Peter Kay, though disparate, hint at his universal appeal.
Applying David Attenborough-like rigours of behavioural examination to the human world, McIntyre bathed in the laughter of recognition tonight. His description of being in a car stuck behind a tractor on a country lane with a queue of frustrated drivers urging him to overtake dangerously took me, as a non-driver, back to childhood days out while it clearly had more recent resonance for others. His observational take on the trials and tribulations of the breakfast buffet is typical of the physicality of many of his routines, as he shuffles up and down replicating the elaborate etiquette of the occasion, while also showing off, giggly, braying asides such as: "I've never wanted ham at breakfast before. I want it now."
McIntyre fell and dislocated his right arm at a gig last week. Tonight he performs with his arm in a sling, but his wings are by no means clipped. He gets more wind beneath these wings in the second half, and shrugs off some of the more overblown and obvious routines that end the first, when he talks about the agony of planning holidays based on resort reviews online, quipping that one read: "The Kids Club was so good we left them there after we went home."
After uncovering the male conspiracy behind the advice that sex and curry help induce pregnancy, McIntyre could have ended on his fast-becoming-a-classic routine about his "man drawer". In this drawer are useful and useless items from light bulbs to old currency; all of them become truly emasculated when McIntyre receives a mysterious phone call that requires him to pay an old man in drachmas and have the instructions to an old toaster handy.
Though occasionally "pinballing" slightly between routines with staccato links, McIntyre's policy of honing his "talk and the jokes will come" approach works well and he is building an ever-stronger extended set. His unashamedly middle-class persona may still rub some audiences up the wrong way, but his career trajectory (that will include an appearance at Prince Charles's 60th-birthday celebrations) suggests they may have to get used to friction burn.
Touring to 17 November ( www.michaelmcintyre.co.uk )
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Laughs go global as Eddie Izzard and Dylan Moran bring international comedians to the Edinburgh Fringe
The Top Ten: Horrible buildings
JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women