The feeling of intense disappointment I experienced watching Russell Kane's show last year came as a shock, so it's a relief to witness this year's much-improved effort – one that has secured his third successive Comedy Award nomination.
Will it be third time lucky for the foppish 30-year-old? Kane faces stiff competition from Greg Davies, Bo Burnham, Sarah Millican and Josie Long, but his reinvented class-angst schtick must put him in a better position than he was last year.
Gone are the melodramatic leaps and genuflections that used to characterise Kane's unease with his journey into the middle class, from a working-class Essex upbringing to studying creative writing at Middlesex University. In its stead come more vivid illustrations of how he relates to the world, rather than how he thinks he should relate to it.
Kane's exasperation at the sometimes Neanderthal attitudes of his father (described as "a combination of Superman and Boycie") is never far away – a familiar theme in his work, it breathes more easily here. Hailed as a "coming-of-age" show, an award win tomorrow will add impetus to his rising stock. On this form, though, even a loss would do little to halt an irresistible rise.
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