New Theatre, Oxford | Sun 16th November 2008
Michael McIntyre reminds me of a naughty, though terribly bright, schoolboy; the kind likely to infuriate his teachers and be adored by his classmates. He has a cheeky pumpkin-like face, a naughty glint in his eye and a delightfully pert manner.
McIntyre’s humour is devilishly observant, pointing out how ridiculous aspects of our everyday lives are. He shows us, for example, how strange a place Argos is, where we compete to peruse a book that shows us thousands of items which may or may not be available to buy. McIntyre skips (literally) from story to anecdote; some are completely improvised as ideas pop into his head; others are clearly rehearsed though all the while McIntyre enjoys sharing his observations with us, laughing with us and displaying a contagious beaming grin. His bemusement at elements of our routine existence is evidently real.
The way in which McIntyre shares his humour is very engaging – he doesn’t want to make you laugh so that you will admire his talent, instead he wants you to laugh with him at how funny things are – the joke exists already and he’s simply pointing it out. His ability to take the mundane and reveal its absurdity is extremely uplifting: if everything is so ridiculous, we can all relax.
McIntyre admits to never making political jokes and confesses that he doesn’t think about that kind of thing much. It’s an extremely refreshing, and welcome, declaration. He doesn’t in fact seem to want to push boundaries or take us out of our comfort zones at all – an undertaking that has been a key element of most popular comedy acts recently. In contrast, McIntyre offers a charming, accessible comedy that is relevant to the common man.
McIntyre has steadily been gaining notoriety, often appearing on TV panel shows and on Radio 4. He will be hosting the first episode of the BBC’s Live at the Apollo programme which will be replacing Jonathon Ross’ Friday Night show until January. After the recent controversy surrounding Ross and Russell Brand I wouldn’t be surprised if McIntyre’s popularity increases considerably. I feel that this country is ready for a bit of graciously mischievous comedy, as opposed to the somewhat crude, though admirably witty, humour we’ve been lapping up for some time now.
McIntyre delivered two hours of solid, mouth-achingly funny comedy. Utterly cheering.