Jon Richardson at the Nuffield (11/03/2012)

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Jon Richardson is very much a comedian who you may have heard of, but who is not yet an A-Lister on the level of the Michael McIntyres or the Jimmy Carrs. He is however, responsible for some incredibly dry humour on the shows Eight Out Of Ten Cats and Stand Up For The Week, amongst others.

Despite this awkward position somewhere in the middle of obscurity and recognition, I can wholeheartedly recommend Richardson’s stand up for the very simple reason that it is absolutely, unequivocally hilarious. This is the sort of show where you feel as though you have endured thirteen rounds with a grizzly bear because every muscle in your body aches from the exertion of laughing so heartily.

A pertinent question would be: why? Richardson has the air of being uncomfortable in front of so many people. His routine is punctuated with self-deprecation at his own inability to pronounce simple words and he constantly derides his own uselessness in love, his social life, and his private life. I am of the belief that his entire routine is actually the wholesale repetition of a counselling session which was greeted with laughter instead of sympathy. His whole manner is totally neurotic and almost unstable. The routine begins with a long apology for being so negative about life in general and for the upcoming content of the show; which is hardly encouraging.

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the pitch black humour of the first half of the show was poignant, meaningful, and very funny: with critiques on love, laziness, and Richardson’s obsessive compulsive love of tidiness and right-angles.

The second half started more optimistically with a promise to be more upbeat and a brief ukelele ‘performance’ satirising a popular TV advert set on a train platform. With only a brief relapse into the dark angry realms of cynicism, the comedy turned to a fantastic anecdote regarding a man eating an apple on a train, which was one of those moments where the comedy value can’t possibly be explained to someone who wasn’t present at the time. The rest of the routine involved tangential stories worthy of Ronnie Corbett, more self deprecation, meta-humour about the writing of the show itself, and a close look at how to win at Masterchef (with particular focus on eating lemon mousse off a spoon).

Richardson’s stand up routine seems to be less a comedy show and more of a controlled nervous breakdown in front of an audience. Whatever it was, it was the funniest thing I have seen in a very long time.

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