Jimmy Carr: The Best of, Ultimate, Greatest Hits Tour: Work in Progress
Star rating: *****
Beck Theatre, Hayes, Middlesex
Wednesday 24th February 2016
One man. One microphone. A full house. No music. No gimmicks. No fancy stage set. When you see Jimmy Carr it’s all about the jokes, the word play and the audience interaction. I like the pared down, back to basics structure to shows like this.
I say no gimmicks, but the intro is highly original (though one Jimmy Carr’s used before, which still makes it original to him) and has the audience laughing away before he’s even hit the stage. In fact, Jimmy Carr is his brief warm up act! That’s something else, getting the laughs before even hitting the stage.
He’s soon into his stride with a constant stream of one liners and witty jokes that go down a treat. Some are familiar old ones but that’s expected as this tour clearly indicates – a greatest hits medley of his best jokes.
The audience banter is second to none. I pitied the poor mother and son sat in the front row. The crudity of his joke should have made that an interesting journey home to say the least!
Not sure he was too keen on another woman in the front row.
“What do you do?” he enquired.
“I’m a civil servant.” She responded.
“Oh. Which department?”
“You don’t want to know.”
“Oh, I think we do!”
“The Tax Office, HMRC.”
Cue uproar in the audience as all recalled Carr’s spot of bother with his tax arrangements a few years ago. That was quite funny and proves she was right to say he probably didn’t want to know!
Moving swiftly on, the show spanned a huge range of subjects, or rather targets – immigration (interesting twist on the usual jokes you hear), fat people, disabled, paedophiles, gays, lesbians, teachers. There were of course plenty of sexist jokes thrown in too. Even so called “rape jokes.”
As per many comedians for some reason, he was curious re homosexuality, asking if there were any lesbians in? Silence. He moved on. When talking about “gaydar’s” someone’s mobile phone happened to go off. Uncannily, unknowingly superb comic timing from whoever called at that point.
There was another brilliant moment when he enquired if anyone believed in the supernatural, spirits and ghosts. Another man on my row, plus myself spoke up saying we did. We were the only ones. He asked if either of us had seen a ghost. I hadn’t but the other man had. Carr asked him to tell more. “Well I was coming home from the pub …” He never got another word out such was the laughter that erupted around the theatre. Superb.
After the interval, Carr motored along in the same high quality vein. The jokes were incessant and although consistently funny I have to admit the show was too long. Even Carr said so himself and said the show would be shortened for the tour. I guess this warm up gig was one for throwing everything out there to see what works and what doesn’t.
It most definitely was a lot more hit than miss. Very few missed the mark in fact. He even came up with a few new jokes during the show which he diligently made note of. There was plenty of hard core relationships material and audience interaction over this which was great.
Despite the rudeness of some of the material, there’s still an underlying class to much of the rest of his material. He’s reminiscent of the late, great Bob Monkhouse in his love of writing clever, pithy jokes. Carr was on fine form and fans about to see Carr on tour are in for a terrific night.
Early on he joked re his resemblance to tennis legend Roger Federer and on this form and with the career he’s had he’s certainly up there with some of the finest comedians Britain’s ever produced in much the same way Federer’s one of the very best tennis pla. In the same way that timing is everything with the serve, so too with telling jokes and very few do it better than Carr. This was an absolute master class of comedy as Carr took a drive down memory lane retelling some of his finest jokes down the years.
Game, set and match to Carr.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
Jimmy Carr is currently touring worldwide. His brand new show arrives in Britain in May 2016.
- Jimmy Carr: Gagging Order – 15th December 2012