Chris Ramsey @ the Northcott

Chris Ramsey @ the Northcott

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Northcott Theatre, 1 December

MY familiarity with Chris Ramsey prior to the gig was limited to his panel show appearances – numerous as they are unfunny. In a stand-up environment, however, he produced a show of superb comedy and unexpected freshness.

Angry man and fellow Northerner Carl Hutchinson did a fairly solid job opening, with highlights including a particularly funny story about garlic bread and a linguistic exploration of the word ‘arse’.

Image credit: The Exeter Northcott
Image credit: The Exeter Northcott

Chris came out soon after, engaging in audience participation for a fair amount of time before beginning his set. It was in this that his best feature was initially revealed – quickness of wit in audience interaction without its inherent nastiness, stemming from, as he put it, a ‘desperate need to be liked’. Judging from the audience’s response, he was going to satisfy this necessity quite effortlessly tonight.

Barely holding the show’s narrative together was a now infamous incident of Ramsey’s accidental swearing on weekend morning TV with a variety of hilarious anecdotes splashed in between. Ranging from accounts of his ‘so thick he’s genius’ friend Andy through the inspiring story of the rise of the hashtag symbol, right up to the time when his early morning notoriety saved him from being arrested, the stories were plentiful and consistently hilarious. They came and went, often off-topic and purely for the sake of their comedic value. This was a nice change to the current trend of entire shows revolving around separate, often dull jokes, which are later revealed to contain cunningly concealed allusions.

A further breath of fresh air was his unobtrusive material, lacking in self-reference, repetitiveness or unnecessary profanity – the latter holding true only if you accept his rather convincing case that his Saturday morning TV accident was not actually swearing.

Much better live than on his panel show appearances, the sunny Geordie is an entertaining storyteller and an endearing comic – original without being excessively edgy, traditional without being excessively safe.

 

Pavel Kondov

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