"Do you remember when Popworld was good?" It's a delicious moment of cheek from the one-time presenter of the Channel 4 teen format who has, for his 45-minute set, had his audience pretty well rapt and malleable. Perhaps it is his television fame that, for example, gets people to admit embarrassing diseases they have had, and perhaps it is the acoustics of the Queen Dome that make it seem as though we are hanging on every word.
Whatever it is, the 26-year-old almost earns his more indulgent moments where he reads excerpts of his previous reviews in order to rip holes in them, or where he mentions that he phoned Rupert Murdoch's daughter Liz to sound her out on whether he could get over his scruples and work for her father's empire.
For the most part, he is otherwise busy weaving a tapestry of nonsense on subjects such as racism. He believes that people in the provinces (he specifically mentions his native Essex) have more time to be racist: "I would be, but I just don't have the time," feigns the Jewish comic. His relationships (Amstell is gay and, as he says, gay and Jewish - how could he not do comedy?) come in for some frank treatment: he was looking for someone like him but better, and found someone much younger and could only amuse him by making baby noises.
Amstell still looks pretty fresh himself but his talent is longer in the tooth.
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