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Josh Widdicombe: The Further Adventures of...
Published on Friday, 10 August 2012
3

3 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
Comedy
1-12, 14-22, 24-26 Aug, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Josh Widdicombe, nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy ‘Best Newcomer’ award last year, is a recognisable face now. He’s done all the TV comedy shows. The problem, though, with a comedian in Widdicombe’s situation, is that there are certain audience expectations. My initial thought was, will he be exactly the same as he is on something like Stand Up For The Week? The answer, in my opinion, is yes: there’s little difference. Maybe it’s just my fault for watching too much TV.

He holds the microphone in that distinctive way of his, pressing it against his chest, and essentially starts where he left off on TV the other day with a procession of gripes about cash points, Alton Towers, and the classic literature on offer in Wetherspoons. The majority of the things that annoy him are High Street brands. There’s one about a woman who at first says she’s “in a shop” then declares she is in “Waterspoons”. And I suppose this sums up Widdicombe’s style. It’s friendly, safe comedy. Evidently it appeals to a wide demographic; there are pensioners as well as children in the audience.

He goes off on a rant about being offered Coco Pops from a cash point, and tries to encourage audience members to call out and say, “that happened to me, too.” But on this occasion it seems he is alone. Which makes it funnier.

Widdicombe isn’t trying to fool anyone into thinking he’s here to cover the big issues. He thrives on noticing the menial things in life, like board games in pubs. How long is it, he ponders, before you go into a pub for “a Kronenbourg and some hoovering?”

There’s some relief from the casual observations when Widdicombe attacks the storylines in Cluedo and Monopoly. Cluedo, he says, is “the most boring party ever.” And the reality of Monopoly is that you’re a “dog who’s going bankrupt to stay at a hotel despite the fact you own ten houses.” It’s light, inoffensive material. Even on the odd occasion he swears, threatening to break the TV persona – and when he picks on a 16-year-old who has been to Dubai and is the only audience member caught in the spotlight – Widdicombe is justified, and maintains his likeability.

The question remains, though: why have people chosen to come to this gig? I don’t mean that in the sense that Widdicombe is a bad comedian. On the contrary, he has impeccable delivery, is genuinely funny and has a great eye for observation. But just before the show starts, I overhear someone say, “what’s he been on?” – and their friend proceeds to reel off a list of TV appearances.

Last year, as Widdicombe tells it, he experienced the embarrassment of being mistaken for a “French burlesque singer”. What he liked about it was the fact it took the couple “ten minutes” to work this out. I don’t think he’s going to have a problem with recognition in the future. Widdicombe doesn’t disappoint, but nor does he offer anything extra – it’s very much ‘as seen on TV.’

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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