Venue: The Comedy Arena
Reviewer: Fergus Morgan
Ivo Graham went to Eton and Oxford. And you can tell. He is well spoken, well dressed, talks about family holidays in the Algarve and boasts of his affection for Halloumi. You should hate him, but you can’t. He’s just too loveable.
From anecdotes about his time spent as house-catering rep at boarding school, to stories of sharing a room with his parents on holiday, Graham’s is a comedy based on an appreciation of his own lack of coolness. Squeezing somewhere in between Jack Whitehall and Simon Bird, he is self-effacing, indignant and awkward. And funny, too.
His dry, intentionally nerdy delivery – a mix of public school-josh and half-ironic slang – is only going to work with a certain crowd, though. Jokes about halloumi might go down with a young Latitude audience, but if he keeps them in his set for Stoke, he’s more likely to get a pint glass in the eye than a laugh. And even at Latitude, there’s a palpable split between those who get his shy, cool-not-cool persona and those who don’t.
There’s universal appeal in his more conventional material: irritatingly liberal use of emojis, relationships driven more by fear of loneliness than love, and having to hide the fact you voted Labour from your parents. These are things we can all relate to (well, maybe not that last one), but he’s also moving away from his niche towards the crowded middle ground here, and he’s notably less incisive as a result.
Graham’s only 25, but he’s at a crossroads. He can either stick with his apologetic posh-boy halloumi routines and get big laughs from the empathetic, understanding minority. Or he can shift towards the mainstream, get a slot on Live At The Apollo, and throw away his soul. Tough one.