This is a review by Brian Charity of Peter Kay’s ‘The Tour that Doesn’t Tour Tour….Now on Tour’, live at the Belfast’s Odyssey Arena, on 7th February 2011.
Peter Kay’s mantle as the country’s best comedian seems to have, in his absence, shifted onto the head of the stunningly successful Michael McIntyre and looks almost set to eventually rest on the head of Liverpool’s John Bishop. Their quintessential humour can be enjoyed by fathers and sons, mothers and daughters. Their audience ranges from the loved up teenagers drinking wine before the show, to the elderly couple who haven’t had a night out in years. I’d picture myself somewhere in the middle. I like wine, but not as much as I like my slippers.
Kay’s comically-named tour was only supposed to be a brief stopover in Manchester but has ended up being one of the longest-running tours any comedian has done this year. So it was inevitable that I, a huge fan of live stand-up, would eventually cross paths with Kay. And did he disappoint? Not really.
Kay did something I had never seen any comedian do before. He said ‘Hello’ to Belfast, he then left the stage, came back with a camera, and worked his way around the audience, zooming in and gently poking fun at each one. It was a bold move, and one which could have set an uneasy tone, had it come from someone like Jimmy Carr. But Kay has been in the business much longer than people know, and each joke felt well crafted and was greeted with much laughter from the audience. A great start which Kay continued to build upon.
Kay is not even 40, yet his comedy suggests a man who was born old. Much of his material is inspired by his childhood, which for the elders in the crowd rang true and went down rather well. But Kay has not just formulated a stand-up routine which appeals to those of similar age. He berated television, particularly the show of the moment, ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ and that odd technique of ‘grabbing’ which Kay’s impression proved to be much more entertaining than the show itself. I had seen Kay’s work prior to this on VHS (remember that?) but he seems to have made a concentrated effort to make his jokes younger and more student friendly. I think this was reflected in the age range of the audience and I certainly did not feel out of place.
Top of the Pops
There are few jokes which could only ever be done by one comedian. For me, Kay’s last routine was proof that though it sounds dated, no new or fresh comedian can ever make a tape player funny. Kay had recorded a variety of pop songs from which he had misheard the lyrics and believed them to be something else. He ranged from The Cars to Shania Twain, leaving the audience in fits of laughter at the potential smut on the radio. The jokes were so simple, and we’ve all probably heard them. But Kay has it in an art form.
Whilst his encore was one of the most peculiar (yet funny) things I have ever seen on stage, it was still one which Kay and only Kay could get away with. Not to ruin it, but you will never look at the contents of your shed in the same way again. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed his show. The jokes were flawless, the humour was light and the audience lapped it up. But something felt missing. Kay is one of the best comedians working in Britain, and his with quick wit and expert timing, it all felt a bit too perfect. I like it when someone plays a wrong note or goes off on a tangent and loses their place. Kay never adlibbed. It’s a strange thing to want a few mistakes, and while the show was incredibly funny, perhaps the funniest I’ve ever seen, it never felt real.
Though, I think John Bishop will have to wait a while longer because on the basis of this gig, Kay is not quite ready to give up his position as Britain’s Best Comedian.
The Tour That Doesn’t Tour Tour….Now On Tour live gig review by Brian Charity.
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