Reviewer: Tracey Lowe
Jon Richardson’s rise to fame has been a joy to watch. From his days with fellow comedian Russell Howard on digital radio station BBC 6Music, to performing his stand-up in medium venues, to his appearances as team captain on ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’. The latter is undoubtedly responsible for his new level of quasi-celebrity, and for the standing room only crowd at this evening’s performance in the Lowry’s largest theatre.
It’s a little odd that Jon Richardson’s humour appeals to such a vast range of people. He is self-deprecating, over-analytical, misanthropic, and occasionally very, very dark. However, no matter how miserable his material suggests he is, there is a strange kind of upbeat charm to Richardson, which makes him very likeable.
Richardson’s material in this two-hour show covers a wide range of topics, but unlike a lot of his peers, he doesn’t feel the need for a narrative. This is good, honest stand-up, with no need for a back-story or moral message. He speaks about how, upon reaching the age of thirty, he realized he had wasted his twenties, frequently choosing cleaning the skirting board over sex. He laments the good old days of ‘Masterchef’, when Lloyd Grossman would have a succession of attractive older ladies cooking meals for him. And he tells a particularly amusing story of how he went on a spiritual retreat, something completely at odds with his deeply cynical personality.
Jon Richardson is extremely self-aware, frequently heckling himself over minor slip-ups. Much of his material revolves around him berating his overly clinical way of looking at things. But it never feels self-indulgent; Richardson is very capable of laughing at himself. He is also certainly more relaxed on stage than he used to be; perhaps he has learned to embrace his awkwardness. While there were never exactly riotous bouts of laughter from the audience, his jokes were consistently clever and he is an absolute pleasure to watch. Don’t be surprised if his next tour takes him to arenas.
Reviewed on 4th November 2012