Latitude 2021 Review – Simon Amstell

Latitude 2021 – Simon Amstell

It always makes me laugh when people say they don't like comedians because they talk about themselves. Let's face it, most comedians are, in some form or another, narcissists. They are often their own favourite subject. And the apotheosis of stand-up narcissists (in a good way) is Simon Amstell, who was at Latitude giving the audience a taster of his new show Spirit Hole.

Amstell's themes have often been self-loathing and self-discovery and there is no change here. He has often talked about the notion of shame and he touches a lot on that here too.

His set consisted largely of a few extended, deftly delivered anecdotes. This might have been a tour warm-up but his tales already seem pretty well-primed for comedy. In fact at one point the audience laughed so much at a set-up he couldn't deliver the pay-off, suggesting rather caustically that if they want to hear that they will have to buy a tour ticket. 

Another story involved an account of a trip to New York two years ago when he dyed his hair blond in a pathetic attempt to deal with a mid-life crisis. He ended up trying to orchestrate a threesome and is very much the butt of the joke when things don't go quite as he planned.

Elsewhere there's a stand-out story about taking hallucinogenic drugs in Peru. Amstell fans will have already heard material about his trip to Peru in previous shows but this is a brand new story, so that trip certainly seems to have paid for itself in terms of comedic mileage (most comics would have dropped in the old 'by joking about it my holiday is now tax deductible' line here, but Amstell is far too original for that).

In Peru Amstell went so far on his journey of self-discovery even the shaman had to suggest that he held back. It's a hysterically funny riff. I'm looking forward to seeing the full version later this year. I'd also quite like Amstell to present a travel show.

Buy tickets for Simon Amstell's Spirit Hole Tour here.

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