The Verse’s Elena Lammila-Escalera reviews Michael McIntyre’s Big World Tour at The Brighton Centre on 25th May 2018.
“Okay, let’s McIntyre this. Stand up.”- Stewart Pearson, The Thick of It.
Often, going to a gig of an extremely famous comedian fills me with fear. A fear that I will be incredibly underwhelmed and will therefore not be able to enjoy their future work in the same way. I had this worry as I was sat at the Brighton Centre, waiting for Michael McIntyre to waltz on in his usual fashion. But how wrong I was! McIntyre, the king of observational comedy, was on top form, churning out laughs by the millisecond.
Critics tend to say his style of comedy is ‘unimaginative’, or that his material just isn’t edgy enough. However, the huge difference between the laughs generated by Michael and his support act, Andrew Bird, just proved how much a talented comic writer McIntyre is. Much of Andrew Bird’s material was similar in content to Michael’s: a mixture of quips about having children, an impression of Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs. And a routine about being abandoned in a pub car park as a kid whilst his dad drank inside (a joke I’m sure I’ve heard word for word from another comic before). All things considered, I don’t think I was the target audience for his reminiscences of old times. There were certainly lots of older people that seemed to enjoy his material, but he struggled to hold my attention.
There was an almost audible sigh of relief (although, maybe it was my own) when Michael came on stage. Skipping both figuratively and metaphorically into some topical gags – an event which tends to be rare. I never thought that the man who was outshone eight or nine years earlier on ‘Mock the Week’ would do so well to whip up a storm about the Royal Wedding. Or the incredulous American Pastor, who appeared on our television screens. He also touched on the ‘we value your privacy’ emails that everyone seems to have received from every company and website in existence recently. I found this particularly amusing, as the day before I had received a similar email from his website.
What was most notable was McIntyre’s impressive physicality to his humour, which can and does only compliment his routine. You notice it on television but by god do you appreciate it live. He made the most mundane tasks sound and look hilarious. For example, how getting into and lowering your body into an extremely hot bath can be very painful.
Although his humour is so obviously targeted at the middle-aged, middle-classed and those with children, you do find yourself relating considerably to his observations and stories. A misunderstanding about those horrible paper massage pants, just how horrible the weather is in the UK (how very British) and how his wife is a prolific online spender all rang bells with the audience. He speaks fondly of his two children who are very typical, well, children. Obsessed with saying bad words and avoiding their greens, they are not unlike some adults I know. The whole Centre was roaring with laughter, clearly enjoying that their lives were being reflected back at them in such an amusing manner.
The only routine that did not live up to its full potential was the ‘car’ routine. McIntyre is not, and never has been, shy about commenting on the banalities of driving. The war that is ‘manual cars vs. automatic cars’, feeling manly when putting his arm around his wife’s seat when reversing and the general passive aggressiveness of drivers, are just some of the areas Michael touched on. Although funny at first, it did drag on and, by the end, you were wishing him to move on.
Whether you love him or hate him, Michael McIntyre does not disappoint. His inoffensive, universal and boyish form of comedy really proved just how skilled a performer this man is. I really recommend seeing him live. Especially if you enjoy his television shows, so you can experience his genius and his observational humour in its full glory.