Charlton Nil: Jim Davidson 4 review
Star rating: ****
Sunday 1st November 2015
I haven’t the foggiest idea why this new show from Jim Davidson is called Charlton Nil. There were few references to his beloved Charlton FC in the show. Maybe it represented his mood allied to Charlton’s poor form of late. If it’s more to do with the later, perhaps Davidson should go into fortune (or misfortune telling) for it’s a very apt title considering Davidson came to play his match at the Watford Colosseum on the back of four straight Charlton nil results!
Whilst we’re talking of fog, this Watford Colosseum show took place on an incredibly foggy night. Visibility driving to the venue was extremely poor. This may have impacted on the attendance as the place was half full. Or perhaps Watford’s not so keen on stand up comedy? I’ve seen other big stars here like Gina Yashere, March 2015, perform at a half full venue. Alternatively it could be down to the off putting elements of Davidson’s show. I’ll return to that later.
I found Jim to be at his brilliant best when bantering with and creating spontaneous jokes with, or rather, at his audience’s expense. The gag singling out the couple walking in late, sitting in the front row and his deliciously rude opinion as to why was outstandingly funny. As was the joke about another woman in the front row wearing a distractingly short mini-skirt.
I loved it when he took the mic out of Watford. Fortunately for him Watfordonians took it in the jokey spirit intended.
As usual, there’s no hiding place for anyone at a Davidson show. The Welsh, Chinese, English, Scottish drunks (aka his father), African Caribbean’s, fat, blind, deaf and disabled all come in for some stick. The “wing, wing, hallo” joke was memorably funny.
Where he comes unstuck and where we may find an explanation for the venue being only half full (notwithstanding possible lack of full on Davidson/venue marketing) is the seemingly anti-African-Caribbean material that gets far more attention than it should. I felt uncomfortable with it. At times the audience did and it was clear he knew it was a bit much too at times e.g. referring to Arnold Schwarzenegger, pondering whether or not he was allowed to say his surname. “Perhaps I’ll say Swartzperson instead.” Fair enough but why draw attention to that part of the name. The world’s long got past the stage of having any issue with his unusual surname.
There were comments about “Africa being where all Black people used to come from.” Factually correct Jim. Well done. And your point is?
There was far too much talk re black people dominating the sprints at the Olympics. Again factually correct. Not particularly topical, but he’s entitled to joke re this. The problem is when minutes later he talks about all the wild animals in Africa as if to say there’s some connection…
He didn’t care too much for any of the animals either, questioning what we need them for. Ironic and nonsensical really when minutes later he praised the revered wild life expert Sir David Attenborough.
There were funny and positive/complimentary jokes re stereotypes such as why Black men don’t swim or why they walk with a leaning swagger that were very funny in an old fashioned way. Maybe that’s Davidson’s problem. It’s 2015 now not 1975 when he came to national prominence. Times move on. The country’s a more liberal, more understanding and accepting one. I am not saying everyone has to love or even like everyone. There’s much to like and dislike in Black people, just as there is with White people, Welsh, Scots, the Chinese and every other nationality. Anyone is free to take the mic out of whoever. However in today’s society you will find yourself in hot water for appearing to be deliberately derogative to others simply based on their colour or racial origins. Davidson crossed the line here. Blatantly.
The crazy thing is that he has bags of talent and a wealth of comedy and show business anecdotes to tell that he doesn’t have to go there. He’s still easily one of the best comedians in the business. No doubt about that and he should not be playing to half empty arena’s – fog or no fog! Instead he’s left to ask his management not to book him gigs on the same night, in the same town, as the likes of John Bishop, for everyone will go to see him instead.
There’s room for both. If Davidson wants a full house it’s up to him to change the negative perception that still hangs over him like a bad smell.
I note he’s had a few run ins with and been banned from a few venues in the last year or so. Sometimes the venue’s been at fault. Maybe sometimes he brings it on himself. For instance due to a late night out drinking the night before this show with his mate “Halloween” he wasn’t feeling to good and didn’t arrive early enough to do a sound check so ended up doing it on stage at the top of the show. Fortunately it didn’t take too long to sort out, he made it funny and it turned out OK, but it just wasn’t terribly professional.
Never mind Charlton Nil. When the gig ended, this was a result for Davidson. As explained above, with just a few tweaks the victory could have been so much more convincing.
Ex-German Teacher John Moloney was a fine hors d’oeuvre before the main course. Like Jim Davidson he wasn’t too happy with his football team, West Ham United. They’re actually having an exceptionally good season so far, but as luck would have it they lost 2-0 against Watford the day before this show.
I loved his old school jokes re being long term married and his teaching days, especially the methods employed to get his own back on unruly pupils who tried to make his life hell.
The banter with Sue (three children, married 24 years) was superb, especially as she got in a couple of razor sharp replies at her hubby’s expense that had everyone laughing away.
The bank robbery joke, the spectacle’s gag and the one regarding “the parent’s staying over were terrifically funny.”
He was quite crude at times but often spot on with the jokes. Although I thought the cat routine went on for too long, overall the pet material was a joy to listen to.
John Moloney was clearly an experienced comedian and was great value for his 35 minutes.
Review and photograph © Tiemo Talk of the Town
- Jim Davidson: No Further Action II – review – 9th February 2015
- Tiemo’s Top 10 comedians of 2014 – article – 28th January 2015
- Jim Davidson: No Further Action – review – 7th July 2014
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