When I’ve seen Micky Flanagan in short bursts on stand-up and panel TV shows, I’ve found him quite amusing, but I’m not 100% about his gig here. It’s not that it’s bad, but I can’t work out if he’s rather overplaying his cheeky chappie Cock-er-nee geezer persona, or if I’m just too hideously middle-class to fully appreciate it.
Some of it’s pretty funny, but a lot of it’s quite old-fashioned and simple, covering ground many other comics have traversed before him. He also has a tendency to go right to the edge of racism, sexism and misogyny, as well as moments that seem to treat thievery, drug taking and what’s virtually child abuse as normal and laudatory parts of working class culture. After each moment where he takes things a bit far he turns up the cheeky chappie shtick a bit in an attempt to make it sound less dodgy or offensive.
With Back In The Game I ended up wondering whether Flanagan’s success is based on the fact working class people think he’s one of them – a council house kid done good – while the middle classes are almost invited to laugh at what sometimes comes across like an almost Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins parody (but a lot ruder) of what they think Cockneys are like.
However perhaps I’m overthinking this and it’s just that he’s not really my cup of tea. The audience for this gig certainly seem to think he’s absolutely hysterical, and while not particularly sophisticated humour, he really does seem to connect with his audience. If my problem with the gig is that I’m horribly middle-class as I’m inadvertently part of a privileged elite putting down the masses, I apologise to Micky, but I still can’t escape the feeling that with Back In The Game he’s perpetuating an almost Uncle Tom-ish view of the working classes.
Overall Verdict: Decently funny but to my tastes nothing special, and I couldn’t escape the feeling his cheeky chappie routine is rather old-fashioned and problematic.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac