Reviewer: Sophie Thompson
‘Hometown Hero’ is the title of Matt Richardson’s, (a relative unknown in the comedy big leagues) debut tour, but, unfortunately, it’s more ‘Hometown Average Joe’ than ‘Hero.’
There is no denying Richardson is charming and likeable, scared latecomers are not met with scathing insults, but polite questions on their wellbeing and occupations. This, although endearing, was slightly frustrating; valuable gag time was spent enquiring after audience member’s health, it feels awkward and forced.
Apart from that Richardson engages well with the audience, and raises a few laughs when bantering with particularly feisty members, but often the audience are and were in fact funnier and wittier than him.
As a self professed member of the middle class, Richardson’s slights on his home town (just outside of Oxford) and its’ population of addicts did seem a little fictitious and contradictory. One wonders if Richardson’s somewhat privileged upbringing accounted for the amount of offensive language in the show, it sometimes seemed out of place and thrown in simply as an effort to appear streetwise and less posh.
There were some truly funny, albeit brief moments, a brilliant yet controversial gag about Operation Yewtree was clearly improvised yet inspired. Indeed, Richardson’s at his best when digressing, his scripted anecdotes seemingly dated, a continuity error proved that some of his material is a few years old. In the ever-changing world of comedy, the comedian cannot afford to recycle old material, especially when embarking on their debut tour.
Matt at times is refreshingly honest, admitting that he is quiet and awkward, but some of his subject matter, such as his recent break-up and his brother’s autism, although touching, are a bit too bleak for a comedy show. Some of the stories were very obviously fabricated, one particular anecdote lifted cleanly from ‘The Inbetweeners.’ Although raising a lot of chuckles, his numerous repetition of the gag drained all the humour from it.
The evening was overall too long and too repetitive, Matt Richardson needs to with more material to keep the audience entertained throughout. One must remember how young the comedian is, at only 22, he still has all the time in the world to break into the comedy big time, but, as his recent appointment to ITV’s The Xtra-Factor proves, it’s apparent that Richardson is much better suited to TV presenting than as a stand-out stand-up comic.