Yule (B)log: Stand-Up Round-Up (2)

From FIFA’s website:

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The 2018 World Cup is to be held in a country where spectators regularly boo black footballers, and the 2022 World Cup is to be held in a country where homosexuality is outlawed. Hmm. Maybe FIFA are going by George W Bush’s definition of ‘mission accomplished’?

Anyway, comedy!

Rhod Gilbert and The Cat That Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst

Channel 4 DVD
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63

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This year’s offering from Rhod Gilbert, and if you’re keen to hear someone from Wales unconvincingly pretending to be really angry about minor things for 83 minutes, but you don’t know our phone number, this is the DVD for you. Personally, we’ve always felt that Rhod Gilbert is about 78.6% of the way there to being a really entertaining stand-up, and can’t help but be a little surprised at how he manages to bag sold-out tours and his own BBC One series without filling in the gaps in his act. To our minds, the show would be much more enjoyable if the material written by Gilbert remained the same, but was somehow performed by Windsor Davies circa 1981.

A lot of the material, of the “have you noticed [x]? What’s all THAT about, eh?” variety, really could be stronger (even we don’t get confused by washing machines, and we’re idiots), and even when the stronger material kicks in, it’s as if the show had been written using Microsoft Comedy Routine Live 2011. Maybe we’re being needlessly cynical, but we can really imagine that towards writing the end of his set, there are several parts where a cartoon paper clip popped up to proclaim “It looks like you’re trying to squeeze in a callback! How about… making a reference to your earlier routine on vacuum cleaners?”

So, a bit of a let down, but slightly better than his previous live DVD ‘The Award Winning Mince Pie’. At this rate, we’re expecting his live DVD in 2017, called ‘The Toaster That Won Eurovision’ or something, will be pretty good, though.

RATING: C-

Sean Lock – Lockipedia

Universal Pictures UK
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86

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The most naturally funny comedian in the UK? We’d say so. In a performance that performers like Rhod Gilbert should take a lot of inspiration from, Lock manages to take similar everyday topics – bags for life, RyanAir, laser eye surgery – but riffs on them with seemingly effortless majesty. Where Rhod Gilbert slides uneasily into his character of “Angry Welsh Guy”, Sean Lock prowls the stage in the guise of a misanthrope who’s long seen recognised the pointlessness of being furious about stuff, and who now delights in warm and cheery malevolence. And it works brilliantly. Most stand-ups can’t help but deliver their lines in a kind of showy “Hey, everyone! I’m on stage! Look at meeeee!” kind of way, while Lock prefers a much more natural style of delivery, which really draws you into his set, letting the funny bits hit the targets of their own accord.

The set does falter a little once it reaches the USP of the tour, namely the Lockipedia segment which sees Lock improvise a routine based on a word from a random audience member. Coming from the man who always puts in a brilliant shift on 8 Out Of 10 Cats no matter how many JackWhitehallalikes are on it that week, the material isn’t poor by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t come close to matching the deftly written and repeatedly finessed gags that make up the remainder of Lock’s show. Happily, he seems to recognise this, and the last part of the show returns to prepared material.

In short: our favourite stand-up comedy DVD of the year so far.

RATING: A

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