Reviewer: Jay Nuttall
Whether a BBC or ITV viewer, Chris Ramsay has taken over the TV remote control in the last couple of years. You may be familiar with him as the star of BBC 2’s Hebburn, one of the co-presenters from ITV2’s I’m A Celebrity Extra or, panel shows aplenty or, new for 2017, Comedy Central’s The Chris Ramsay Show. At thirty his career is shooting upwards.
Following on from his previous tour, All Growed Up, Ramsay is still questioning his place in the world. He is a confident man – naturally – but just how confident is off-stage Chris? And, by extension, just how confident are we all – when we really ask the question. We all have fronts, façades and different masks we put on for various scenarios but do we all have common and shared insecurities. This is the comedy that Ramsay has chosen to mine for his new show This is… Chris Ramsay.
Laying yourself bare on-stage and confessing the quirks of the world that scare you immediately makes Ramsay an affable comedian. Making oneself look more insecure with a microphone in hand in front of hundreds of people is a clever tactic and one that works to immediately win over his audience. He has the skill all comedians envy to put an audience at ease in the first few minutes by interacting with them, welcoming them, and making you feel he is a friend. His confidence at just chatting with the first couple of rows is superb and you get the impression that he is genuinely enjoying his time on-stage.
Ramsay is an anecdotal comedian. We are gently guided through various stories from his recent past. Although his material covers ground many comedians his age have covered before it strikes chords with younger couples in the audience. TV viewing rituals, toilet rules and the trials and tribulations of family life with a toddler provoke laughter of recognition. He has some wonderful material concerning the leniency of grandparents before his attention turns a little more to the horror in the second half of his show. Disclosing his fear of hotel rooms (not ideal for a stand-up comedian) his storytelling powers send shivers down the spine as he regales us with a tale of crazed woman trying to get into his room before his final routine describing the time the police burst into his hotel room to arrest him in a case of mistaken identity.
Ramsay could do with structuring his show a little better. With a support comedian, it is often the case that the main act will perform for around 60-70 minutes. After Ramsay’s support act plus interval his routine was close to 110 minutes straight through. Great value for money but a tired audience (by the end) would have benefited from a better-scheduled break.
Ramsay is a great comedian. Laddish enough to appeal to the men and sensitive enough to appeal to the ladies, he is what I would describe as a “couple’s comedian”. He exudes confidence and has huge capabilities as an anecdotalist. He really has nothing to worry about but it was nice to hear his worries.
Reviewed on 12 March 2017 | Image: Contributed