Now here’s the thing
Richard Blackwood – Live and Uncut
Saturday 11th January 2014
Slip sliding away
Kat B opened the show with a high energy performance that had him dancing all over the stage, doing the splits and generally showing off his athletic gyrations. It brought tears to the eyes seeing him do the splits and so effortlessly bounce up and down off the stage. Simply amazing. Maybe he got the idea from an attendee at the show, for just prior to his entrance an unfortunate young woman came a cropper walking to her seat in her high heals. Oh deary me!
I especially enjoyed the long winded, but amusing story of a young man going back to “his woman’s flat” after a date and the kinky high jinks that he was hoping would ensue. This involved light sabres, darkness and all manner of weirdness. He painted a pretty vivid picture and the funny tale, was captivating as you just weren’t sure how it was going to turn out. He was bemusingly side tracked for a few minutes by the throwing on stage of 100’s of teddy bears!?? Kat gleefully sent them flying out into the audience. Whilst funny to an extent it seemed a bit childish and interrupted what was quite a good yarn.
At times, the audience seemed to find some of the material a bit to near the knuckle. For instance when he said what men and women supposedly do when checking out a new partner’s knicker draw. Really?
All in all Kat was a very good 35 minute opener for Richard, bantering well with the audience, making full and energetic use of the stage and the music and generally getting the audience warmed up “for the man they call RB, the man who doesn’t just go to the gym, but lifts up the gym!! Introducing Miiisteeer Riiiichard Blackwooood.”
Now Here’s the thing
Richard Blackwood bounds on stage to emphasize Kat’s point, sporting cut away sleeveless shirt and jeans, showing off his big biceps. He got a few wolf whistles from the ladies and used that as a cue to proceed to talk about himself for the opening 10 minutes. Behind the show boating and jokes, he was trying to make the serious point that he has to work out and keep fit simply to stay alive. Something everyone needs to do when they reach a certain age. At 41 he said he has no choice. He also made the entirely valid point, that as guys we expect our women to look good, so the least we can do is make an effort ourselves.
He joked that the water on stage wasn’t for show, but was necessary to keep him hydrated. There was actually quite a health theme running through the show as he talked about his family and the late Michael Jackson’s health issues.
In an highly entertaining and funny show lasting 1.5 hours, without interval, Richard also tackled generational differences, race, culture, sex and relationships. This was his first stand up show since scoring a hat-trick at Wembley last month at The Black Comedy Awards 2013. At Crystal Banqueting Hall, Richard won three awards for ‘Best Stand-Up Comedy Host’, ‘Best Supporting Actor – Shrek’ and ‘Best Comedy Theatre – Shrek’.
Whilst not hosting tonight, this was an opportunity to see first hand why Richard is the man of the moment and indeed has been at the top of the comedy tree for nearly twenty years.
He was entertaining discussing people many had never heard of before such as ‘internet sensation Dominic’ who apparently put himself in a highly compromising position, on a staircase, during an alcohol fuelled night out over Christmas, which sadly for him has ended up all over the internet.
It became clear why he had undertaken certain TV shows which on the face of it, or to be more precise, on the bottom of it, seem quite embarrassing. When he talks about how his mother was diagnosed with cancer and went on to beat it with a positive attitude and spirit, it kind of puts into perspective the choices people make and how perhaps one shouldn’t be so quick to judge without knowing the full circumstances behind someone’s decisions.
This was Richard’s first one man show in 10 years and you sensed it’s importance by the fact his family was there in force to support him. He name checked his mother, brother and sister a few times.
How he then went on to joke about sex and the like knowing they were there is beyond me, but go there he did in a no holds barred routine. Comparing sex as a 20 something male v sex as a 40 something male was riotously funny, with perhaps a certain element of truth in it regarding the increased stamina and ability to please a woman that comes, no pun intended, with age. As Richard says’ he like’s to “keep it real.”
His dissection of the ‘Michael Jackson : Autopsy’ programme, shown on Channel 4 just five days before, 6 January 2014, was spot on. I hadn’t seen it at that point, but Richard’s description of the lethal cocktail of drugs he was taking, all down to the pressure of owing a mind boggling $400m to the US tax man was vivid, very sad and brought home just how bad things had got with Michael. It was also quite co-incidental that it was in this very arena, the 02, that Michael was due to perform those 50 tour dates in 2009. Yet the TV show made it clear he’d struggle to do 2 dates, never mind 50.
On a lighter note regarding Michael Jackson (ironic as the programme confirmed that Michael was truthful in saying he had the skin lightening disease vitiligo, but also took skin bleaching creams to even out the discolouration of the skin) Richard used the music of Michael to show the difference in age between the under 25’s, over 30’s and over 40’s in the Indigo2. Discussing the albums and hit songs you could draw a clear line between the generations. That was quite interesting, almost scientific and both divided and united the audience depending on where you fitted in.
Richard was pretty good with his Asian accent as well, using it to highlight differences between Asians and Blacks and bringing the house down with the “weave thing”!
He was very amusing in relating the ‘Take me out’ episode with the poor Asian bloke in a turban who was buzzed out by EVERY SINGLE LADY before he’d even got his surname out!!What is that about? I do occasionally see the show and I have to say many of the women come across as very shallow. Point proven.
Time please Ladies and Gentlemen
Richard seemed to be running out of time to finish his show as he was seen responding to off stage signals to finish, which was distracting for him and the audience. I’m glad he had more time and closed the show as he wanted as it was a fun, energetic ending and again shows why he need to keep as fit as he can for his show. Energetic performance seems to be all the rage nowadays on the Black comedy circuit. The days of standing behind a mic simply telling jokes long since abandoned for joyfully bouncing around the stage.
Richard was keen to point out he was giving the audience what they wanted – an hour and a half long show. He said he had 2 hours of material to deliver. It’s difficult to know if that was deliberate spin to “leave the audience wanting more” or whether he really did have another 30 minutes to deliver. If he did then it’s puzzling that he came on stage at 9.30pm when the show was advertised as starting at 7.30pm (doors 6.30pm). Kat came on and did just over 30 minutes at around 8.36pm – well over an hour after the start time. Thus, it’s not difficult to work out where time was lost.
I’m not sure where the view comes that audiences want to see 1.5 hours from comedians, but I certainly have felt for some time that that is the way to go. For someone who’s been around a while, 21 years in Richard’s case, 1.5- 2 hours should be and certainly proved to be, well within his capability. There are quite a few comedian’s I would like to see doing longer one man/one woman shows. Maybe 2014 will be the year this happens.
Here’s the thing
Here’s the thing though. This show didn’t feel like 1.5 hours. The audience were always laughing, for Richard delivered a fun, entertaining, top quality show. There are periods when Richard’s making a point and not playing for laughs, but audiences allow him that luxury. That’s the beauty of a longer show.
This was a terrific show, which considering he’d been out of the game for a couple of years’ out doing ‘Shrek the musical’, was all the more impressive.
It was great to see Richard putting in a real shift and it was easy to see why this comedy veteran is still proving to be an award winning hit with the public.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
Richard Blackwood announced that he will be taking ‘Live and Uncut’ on a UK tour later in 2014.