Reviewer: Jay Nuttall
The mark of a great comedian is, when leaving a gig, not remembering any of the jokes. It helps to write a couple down before they become ephemeral. Gary Delaney’s Gagster’s Paradise is so cram packed full that most comedians would hope to write as many funny lines in ten years that he puts into one hour. If you like value for money in your comedy then Gary Delaney is for you.
In the company of fellow wordsmith comics like Tim Vine, Stewart Francis or Jimmy Carr, Gary Delaney revels in the beauty of how one word can turn everything around. Double meaning and puns are his tools and his crafted one-liners his expertise. Ever trying to economise a joke or expedite a punchline, Delaney cuts off every ounce of fat resulting in several jokes per minute. And, as for many comics of this ilk, there becomes a rolling ‘wave’ of laughter as he skillfully mixes in the ones that might not land as well with the ones he knows are sure-fire belly laughs such as “it’s great working from home … unless you’re a fireman”.
Even before the gig starts we are treated to many of his turns of phrase from his Twitter feed. For many fans in the audience who don’t follow his social media platforms, he will probably have recruited another few hundred disciples. Indeed, Delaney cleverly uses the use of visual slides to break up his show: fake Wikipedia entries, his own brand of questionable greetings cards and fake online Amazon book reviews are his speciality as well as pictures of everyday things that can become askew in Delaney’s brain. The label on a bottle that reads ‘still water’ somehow becomes a joke about being bored of Jesus trying to work miracles.
Delaney takes great pleasure in trying to outrage his audience; pushing the boundaries of taste. Similar to Jimmy Carr he delights in knowing where the line might be and darting straight past with a joke that may offend yet still cause hilarity. For every gag that might get a suck of the teeth or an uncomfortable groan, he revels in including another gratuitously potential offensive gag that he saves for the finale of the show. That said, much of the show is clean: “I cured a ham so now it’s a pig again” is an example of his fine wordplay that is designed to please as much as cajole. Occasionally his ‘one-liners’ are two or three and sometimes he only needs to tell the set-up and leave the audience to fill in the punchline for themselves.
Delaney is an incredibly likeable comedian; down to earth, honest and unabashed he seems to be having as much fun onstage as his audience. Giggling and sniggering his way through his act he seemingly still finds many of his jokes funny at the hundredth time of telling them which becomes infectious. Some of the jokes are from the world of comics way before the revolution of alternative comedy and taken out of context could be offensive to the particular butt of one particular joke. But with Delaney you are in safe hands.
As he self confesses at the beginning of the show there is no arc, no structure, no journey, no sad bits and you definitely won’t learn anything. But as a prolific gagsmith you are guaranteed an awful lot of laugher.
Reviewed at The Lowry on 14 April 2019 | Image: Contributed