The man who’s often been described as the Southern, middle-class version of Peter Kay is back with another dose of observational humour that takes everyday life to the extreme. Well, most of it is about everyday life, although creeping in is the curse of successful comics, which is that the more famous they get, the more their life diverges from most other people’s. While it’s something that’s destroyed some comics’ career as they lose the ability to connect with their audience’s shared experience of the world, McIntyre is still very funny.
His trademark is to take life and dissect its oddities, often taking it to the limit in the name of comedy. When he’s doing this he’s incredibly funny, such as an extended skit about his terrible trip to the dentist, which ended up with him under general anaesthetic in hospital. However his riffs on the more fame-centred parts of his life are less humorous than his everyday stuff. The beginning of a lengthy story about being invited to Buckingham Palace is fun, but as it goes on it gets increasingly difficult to care. It’s still funny, but perhaps not as good as we’ve come to expect from McIntyre.
I’m also still not convinced the O2 is a good place for comedy. You can understand why major comedians like playing there, as it’s gargantuan and gives them the biggest audience possible. It’s also true that the roaring laughs can be deafening. However it loses the intimacy a reasonably sized theatre has, and few comics have managed to keep that direct connection to the audience in such a cavernous space (Peter Kay being one of the few). It’s not too much of a problem for McIntyre though as his act doesn’t rely on audience banter, and so the O2 is mainly just a great big stage for him to play on.
Showtime is a good 90 minutes with a fair few belly laughs and some incredibly sharp and witty observations. It’s not quite as good as Hello Wembley, but if you enjoyed that or indeed McIntyre’s other stand-up release, Live & Laughing, there’s little doubt you’ll like this as well. I do hope his comedy doesn’t become increasingly about his fame, as it’s when he’s getting at the strangeness of the commonplace that he’s at his best.
Overall Verdict: One of the most popular comedians in the country returns with a set that may not be his best, but is still very funny and a lot better than most. But perhaps next time he can remember going to Buckingham Palace is more interesting for him than for everyone else.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac