Review: Jimmy Carr, Hammersmith Apollo

jimmy carr

The adage is that there is no such thing as bad publicity. And while Stuart Hall might not agree with that at the moment, Reginald D Hunter's demographic is hardly shrinking following his recent appearances in the news pages and judging by the difficulty I had buying a ticket – there were no press tickets – for Jimmy Carr's sold out London show last weekend his career is clearly doing OK as well. The 2012 tax story that caused David Cameron to break off from the G20 conference to comment on Jimmy Carr being "a dick" – as Carr put it in this show – appears to have done no harm to him at all. In fact I suspect that his fanbase is growing. This was a successful but odd gig though, which I reviewed for The Evening Standard. You can read the original review here. It was one of two nights being recorded for November DVD release and there were frequent interruptions from the crowd. Carr dealt with the intrusions, and a shameless extrovert onstage during an audience particpation sketch, really impressively. It'll be interesting though to see what stays in the edited version.

Unacceptable behaviour this weekend at Jimmy Carr’s gig. Not from the occasional controversialist but from part of his audience. It is not unusual for comedians to be interrupted by fan, but I’ve rarely seen a performer have to deal with so many distractions.

It was only Carr’s lightning-fast wit and crude, effective putdowns that kept a noisy element at bay, which was fortunate as this set was being filmed for DVD. It was the star’s penchant for banter with the crowd in the first place, however, that probably made them feel they could contribute at will.

Things started well, with his fine self-mocking patter including a comparison of his tax affairs to the Savile scandal: “It looks like I wasn’t the worst Jimmy last year.”  A schoolboyish routine dealt with arcane sexual practices but there was also a hint of a less brutal side: “I read Great Expectations. It was not as good as I thought it would be.” After the interval though, friendly but disruptive heckles increased. It is not easy to enjoy a show when the person three seats from you is repeatedly shouting. A sitcom-style sketch in which audience members took part was chaotic fun thanks to a loose cannon of a fan onstage but this was a foreshadowing of a final problem when Carr attempted a lengthy closing story.

Despite appeals for silence, one latterday Oscar Wilde insisted on bellowing out “Boring”. Carr had to restart the gag twice and the impact of the punchline was lessened.  I’m sure shrewd editing will smooth out the wrinkles on the DVD but on the night some so-called comedy fans spoilt the fun. Not much wrong with Carr, sadly some of his fans are ready for the scrapyard.

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