Review: Jon Richardson @ Plymouth Pavilions
Online Arts and Lit Editor, Ellie Cook, judges Jon Richardson’s stand-up performance, his comedic material and his fashion sense.
Jon Richardson started his October 6th show at Plymouth Pavilions with the removal of his cardigan- which, if you are an 8 Out of 10 Cats fan, you will know is a wool-blend physical embodiment of his comedic style. When he took off one cardigan to reveal another god-awful second cardigan underneath, I realized that there could be no better symbol of his decidedly domiciliary humour, or the tone his script would follow for the rest of the evening.
The Old Man tour was, as he admitted himself, an apt title. The majority of the material concentrated on his dogmatic adherence to having his everything in his life just so; in parts, it was as if an irascible pensioner had snuck on stage and usurped the thirty-five-year-old comedian. Of course, Jon Richardson has actively played up this element of his gimmick, and it has always been an integral part of how he presents his comedy; it would be unfair, and untrue, to say it was incongruous or detracting in his performance. It was balanced by his frequent flitting to the unchartered territory of parenthood, which he addressed with the expectedly grumbling mindset that encapsulates his comedic persona. However, remaining unaffected by the obvious tenderness he held for his family- in the intervals between somewhat unflattering jokes at their expense, that is- was a tall order, and one that endeared him to the audience assembled at Plymouth Pavilions. The show was an assortment of his perfectionist personality, new familial life, horrific Liam Neeson impressions and self-deprecating anecdotes; it was a bizarre verbal mosaic that, simply put, was very funny.
The show overall felt less like stand-up and more like a conversation with the audience. Richardson routinely used Twitter as a platform for his jokes, the most memorable being a woman who had tweeted her excitement about the show, and he took full advantage of her public profile. The running gag was that he knew every nuance of her life, all of which he sprinkled at various intervals in the show, ranging from her children, to her sister, to when her maiden name changed to her married name. It was a spectacular show of twenty-first century stalking that was at once slightly unnerving and definitely entertaining.
it was a bizarre verbal mosaic that, simply put, was very funny.
The version of the Old Man tour that was gifted to Plymouth was a pedantic and witty production that above all painted Jon Richardson as the average, fastidious individual is more of a stereotype than a real person. He went to great lengths to exaggerate the over-particularity of his personality, but by singling out little grievances that most people note and dismiss, his comedy made him both relatable and laughable. The aged aura that seeped from his cardigan and his mannerisms had an irony that made his content accessible to the more elderly section of the auditorium, yet the drought-dry jokes about technology was what more readily drew a chuckle from the under-thirties. It did, however, appeal to a certain sense of humour that took pleasure in being irritated with the world, and perhaps the sarcasm-laden hour and a half of complaining would not be for everyone.