Josh Widdicombe has had quite a lot of success on TV comedy shows, enough that he’s now getting his first live comedy DVD. As with many first discs there are some rough edges, but he still manages to come through and deliver a pretty funny set.
There are signs of nerves, not least the number of times he mentions they’re shooting the DVD, but generally he holds this in and has enough confidence in his material to make it work. However, if you’re gonna enjoy this disc, you better not mind people who like to have a moan, as that’s essentially all he does. There’s a slight sense with Josh that this is a trip back to the early days of observational comedy, when everything was about moaning about the minutiae of life and bringing out the silliness of everyday things we take for granted.
It’s a place where many young comedians start out, but few get as far as Widdicombe. He has a few things in his favour. First is that his material may not be 100% new but it’s better than an awful lot of observational stuff comedians come up with. The second is that with his rather nasal voice and everyman style, he’s very good at coming across as one of us – he’s annoyed on our behalf. There’s none of the arrogance and winking at the audience of many comics, so that his venting comes across as genuine frustration rather than just being done for effect. I do kind of hope it is for effect though, as it must be very annoying to go through life being as exasperated as Josh appears to be on stage.
I do think he’s yet to fully come into himself as a comedian, and he could perhaps be more innovative and take his frustrations to interesting new places. Indeed he’s probably going to have to if he wants his success to continue, but it’s nevertheless working for him here. And I’m not just saying that because like me, he was born and bred in Devon.
Overall Verdict: If you don’t mind people having a good old moan, Josh Widdicombe’s nasal exasperation offers plenty of decent laughs. He may be firmly in a comic style that feels a little old-hat, but he makes it work.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac