Any misgivings the audience had about the more pedestrian portions of Sean Lock's tour opener were readily validated by the comedian himself: "You treated the joke with the disregard it deserved," he said after one of his more matter-of-fact routines about male genitalia being easier to draw than female.
He could have said the same thing about a number of his gags: one where Kate Moss talks with a lisp, say, or where he tries to convince the Dragons' Den team to patent a super-sized chicken Kiev. These child-like doodles achieved pockets of laughter in what was a patchy gig.
Occasionally nervy and unsure before the interval (during which, he promised, he'd do "revision"), Lock did find a groove for the rest of the gig and started to resemble the sharp figure we knew from TV appearances on 8 out of 10 Cats and QI.
The brown-shirted, beige-suited and bespectacled comedian looks and sounds like Michael Caine's Harry Palmer on a weekend off. In terms of content, he resembles fellow Nineties icons Bill Bailey and Harry Hill: "Roll-ups are practically salad, aren't they?" he suggests of his favoured smoke. "I have one as part of my five-a-day fruit and veg."
Whereas Bailey and Hill are your wacky uncles, Lock is your "sad", slightly absurd dad, an attitude well illustrated by his take on the TV show Supernanny, where he would "fly a group of louts to a country where it is still legal to give them a good clout". His similes bear out the fatherly analogy; he describes the futility of recycling Marmite jars while Alaska is being drilled for oil as like "turning up at an earthquake with a dustpan and brush". It's indicative of the resigned domesticity that underpins much of his material.
Elsewhere, "Dad" Lock suggests that hen-party women would "be happier in a skip" than a limousine, and admonishes Robbie Williams for always having his shirt off: "You're a pop star, not a scaffolder!"
As with any relationship between fathers and their charges, some of Lock's comments fall on deaf ears. But the relationship between the comedian and his audience has a residual warmth that sees both through the more awkward moments. Nonetheless, Lock's show needs to be taken to the garden shed for a lick of paint.
Touring to 7 December (www.offthekerb.co.uk)Reuse content