Apparently the US financial crisis is now so bad that Americans have given up on racism.
-Russell Howard on the American presidential election
Finding myself unexpectedly free on Tuesday evening, Rav came through with an extra ticket to Live at the Apollo, stand up comedy being filmed in a hurried attempt to fill the void left by Jonathan Ross’ suspension. Needless to say the Ross/Sachs debacle was referenced several times, usually followed by the words “there’s no way this is making the cut!”
The performers were Sean Lock, Jason Manford, Russell Howard and Jo Brand (they were filming two episodes back-to-back given the tight timeframe) — excellent value considering the tickets were free! Sean is like every family’s amiable joking uncle. There’s an occasional harder edge to his comedy and his likable meandering belies a sharp wit. Jason Manford’s set felt tighter if not actually funnier. He seems like exactly the sort of bloke you’d like to hang out with and have a beer except that apparently he doesn’t drink.
I always find Jo Brand disappointingly inconsistent. There are some very funny moments when she does stand-up but they are hidden between large amounts of filler. Her self-deprecating fat/feminist humour works well in short bursts on panel shows but wears thin at length.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Russell Howard. I have always been a fan despite the occasional tendancy of his overenthusiastic delivery to get in the way of his jokes. Impressively, he easily maintains that infectuous energy throughout and it rarely derailed him. Perhaps most interesting, given the deliberate childishness of his delivery, is that he now has a point — Russell has a clear message underlying it all as he rails against those in British society who relish in their own needless anger, entirely oblivious to the realities outside their comfortable world. A child can be funny in a meaningless way, but a child with a point might actually convince people to change.
If like me your strongest memory of Minority Report is the futuristic gesture controlled computer system, and you’ve spent the past several years waiting for it to appear, you need to see Oblong’s g-speak. The first half of the demonstration video will blow you away, while the latter seems there largely to pad it out.