Fri 7 Sept
words: LANCE HARRISON
11 years or so since the floppy haired one last graced the stand-up circuit, he’s now back on a national tour. Of a time when Ben Elton, David Baddiel, Rob Newman et al were not only Alan Davies’ contemporaries but also the intelligent comics of the time, it was going to be an interesting move back into the touring circuit.
Known as the dopey one/Stephen Fry’s whipping boy on QI, Davies’ appeal spans all ages; his huge TV success and various panel show appearances have perhaps given him the impetuous to tour again. This, the Life Is Pain tour, draws on his own life experiences; he dips into a nervy first half an hour without much direction, a stream of anecdotes about touring years ago, being in America, and launching into a hometown pisstake of Essex speak, which in parts was quite amusing. Bolstered by a positive response, he launched into his despair of the modern world.
Aged 46, Davies’ teenage years fell in the 1980s and a lot of his humour tonight was at the expense of payphones, strict parents timing phone calls, parental guidance and teachers. All of which have, in his opinion, diminished in the modern age. His fumbling attempts to connect with the outside world using Facebook brought a few laughs, likewise the etiquette applied to ‘poking’. This being a generational set, it helped that most of the audience were in a similar age bracket.
In the second half, his confidence showed and he walked around the stage gesturing, complaining that holding the microphone was making his arm hurt, and issuing general annoyances about getting older. The complications and mishaps of having kids proves to be a rich source of material: the luxury of being a selfish adult, used to watching what they want when they want with a large glass of wine, has been taken away never to appear again.
Alan Davies’ return to the stage was a resounding success – more continual smirks and titters than all-out belly laughs – but his real life anecdotes provided plenty of entertainment to a packed-out hall.