Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The League of Funnymen: Jason Manford Live




£12.93 (Amazon)

A quick addition to our scoreboard of stand-up today, and it’s Salford scamp Jason Manford. With his schtick being “cosy observation”, you can pretty much guess what’ll be coming up here, and there aren’t any surprises on offer. Topics touch on being a parent, obsolete names (“you never see a baby called Geoff any more, do you?”), how the penis adds context to the testicles, lady shampoo, and his dad.

Time for one of our theories about stand-up: while it’s expected that every American comic has to have a routine on airports because they spend so much time flitting between east and west coasts (if they don’t perform such a routine once per gig they probably get kicked out of American stand-up equivalent of The Magic Circle or something), with British comedians it’s ‘driving’. Is this why the British public seem more likely to take stand-up comedians to their collective hearts? Our more compact landmass affording our millionaire mirthmeisters that extra shared experience of motorway service stations while touring the country, while their stateside cousins have to try and remember what it was like the last time they flew coach in 1987 if they want to connect with their audience like that?

Yeah, probably not, it’s only a theory we’ve held for about seventeen minutes. It does mean that when Manford does his bit about driving, including the difficulty of putting petrol in your car to the nearest tenner when filling up, we couldn’t help but lament he’d missed the much better punchline that we thought of. Which is this: “and then, after finally managing to somehow squeeze that final pennyworth of petrol into your car, you go in and pay for it… by card”. See, shared experiences between comedian and audience.

Luckily for Jason Manford, that’s the only bit where we thought of a much better punchline than him (no, it IS a much better punchline, shut up). It certainly helps that he maintains a steady air of The Funniest Bloke At Work, the kind of bloke who you’d be a bit disappointed if you go out on a work ‘do’ and he’s not turned up. (Look, our version of that petrol joke works better because, you know, the guy doing the till isn’t even going to be giving you any change! You might as well just have got £22.43 of petrol! That’s why it’s funny! IT IS!) Unless, of course, you always get annoyed by people like that, in which case this DVD isn’t really going to realign your liking-Jason-Manford-or-not-sensors. But, if you’re a fan of faintly undemanding comedy about things like supermarket self-scan tills, you’re in luck. (Yes, we know there’s pay-at-pump, but then the joke doesn’t work. Look, it’s a valid joke. Leave us alone.)

File under: safe bet Christmas present for brother-in-law.

SAMPLE GAG: “The most commonly searched for term on Google is ‘sex’. That’s too broad a term, surely? It’s like going into Tesco and asking ‘where’d you keep your food?’”




2 .:

Rob M said...

This chart is AN OUTRAGE. (Not that I've seen any of these DVDs, BUT STILL.)

Manford is amiable and does trad light observational stuff, but he's brilliant at it - I can't think of who else is doing the same thing and not coming off as a cunt. Seinfeld, maybe, a decade ago? It's rare I don't find a reason to strongly object to a comedian, which really makes Manford special.

And brings me to Addison who, as you touched upon - but didn't castigate near strongly enough - is an awful sneery hypocritical gobshite. "You know the sorts of places - lots of sportswear being worn, not a lot of sports being played." A-HA HA HA laugh the idiot middle class audience at pasty streak of piss who is on stage WEARING FUCKING BASKETBALL SHOES. Well known for his love of playing basketball, in't he, Chris Addison? Loves it, he does. Cunt.

Yours sincerely,
Outraged of London

Mark Jones said...

I should probably change the whole chart so that it displays how much I thought of each DVD in general, because I did actually enjoy Jason Manford's DVD a lot. It's really closely behind Addison's on the list, with Addison just pipping him to the post because Addison's DVD was better than I was expecting it to be, while Manford's was as good as I thought it was going to be. I suspect that Manford's likeability is enhanced by him not being on our screens quite as often these days. Back when he cropped up on everything (well, as captain of 8 Out Of 10 Cats and his short-lived stint as co-host of The One Show), there could well have been a slightly unfair McIntyre type backlash. Now he's a little more out of the spotlight (well, doing comedy on ITV1, much the same thing), he really does seem more like a breath of fresh air.

Not wholly familiar with Addison's other stand-up, as I've only really seen parts of it. I only really noticed one real instance of such punching down (the EasyJet bit) on this latest DVD, with his set containing much more along the lines of "you do realise that us middle-class Waitrose types are all a bit useless, aren't we?".

I can certainly see why people would take a dislike to him, though.

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