Comedy: Frank's friend left all on his testosterone
Sunday 20 April 1997
There is no way of knowing how father and son react to the moment later in the evening when Baddiel confesses that sometimes his only goal in having sex with his girlfriend is to supply himself with mental images for later masturbatory exploits (There is no way of knowing how David Baddiel's girlfriend reacts to it either, come to that). A nervous attempt at a collusive glance maybe, or perhaps a half-stifled flush of embarrassment? Either way, the arteries of their masculinity will have been fattened beyond the wildest dreams of any wily pepperoni merchant.
Except that when you actually see it happening, the whole Baddiel testosterone bonding experience is not quite as cut and dried as one might have imagined. Early on, when the chants of the crowd oblige him to down his pint in one, this is done not so much in a spirit of beery triumphalism, but with genuine (and justifiable) concern that his fragile grip on the proceedings might be fatally weakened by any form of alcoholic indulgence. Appearing on This Morning recently, Baddiel confessed that he had only gone on the road because Frank Skinner said you had to perform live to be a proper comedian. This is a bit like Alan Shearer convincing Gareth Southgate that you have to take penalties to be worth your place in the international side.
In technical terms, tonight's show is something of a debacle. It's fine to be reading cues off the back of your monitors at this early stage in a long tour, but those cues really need to say something other than "Play dialogue excerpt from your favourite porn film" or "now is the time to use the line 'like Fergie on speed'."
And yet, by all measures other than content and presentation, this performance is a howling success. The warmth with which Baddiel is received is more than equivalent to the loathing he traditionally inspires in those who do not admire him, and it is easy to see why. There is something specious about Baddiel's much-vaunted honesty - his endless presentation of himself as a purveyor of the difficult truths which are so often just easy prejudices in drag - but there is something genuine about it as well. And any man who can describe his angle of erection as "less that of a high-powered industrial crane and more that of a gently opened cat-flap" must have something going for him.
Towards the end of the show, when David Baddiel invites the audience to ask him questions to use up the time he would otherwise have had to fill with humorous material, a voice from the back of the auditorium demands, "Who's funnier, you or Frank?" When the answer rings out across the stalls -- with better comic timing than any the star of the show has managed in the course of the evening - "Frank!", Baddiel has no trouble laughing. And why should he? While his demonic sofa-mate's ability to control the minds of a live crowd verges on the sinister, Baddiel simply relies - not unreasonably on tonight's evidence - on the hope that his audience likes him.
Richmond Theatre (0181 940 0088), tonight; then touring until 27 May.
Life & Style blogs
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers
Airline food across the classes: Ever wondered what the other half are eating?
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Huawei P8 review: best phones nobody's seen from the biggest company nobody's heard
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
- 5 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...