Venue: Grand Opera House York
There are very few stand-up comedians I have the desire to see live, and Jack Dee definitely makes it into the top three. The sharp combination of dry humour, witty improvisation and well-anticipated misanthropy thoroughly engaged the sell-out audience throughout the performance; somersaulting his live tour above the contrasting, rather lacklustre, effort you are forced to watch every Sunday night on the small screen. Don’t get me wrong – sitting on the sofa and watching comedy unfold in the comfort of your own home is a pretty good idea, but when the real deal is suited-up and stood less than twenty feet away from you, there happens to be very little competition between the two.
Jack Dee performing on a stage in the centre of York’s Grand Opera House, emanating nothing but delicious cynicism was a truly worthwhile experience (despite being sat in the middle of a rather bemused family for two hours) as he discusses his daily life in great detail; from the cheeky reference to Savile at the start of the set to his own experience of Women’s Water Polo at London 2012. And, although some of the material will have already been brought up in conversation many times before (his choice of topics were a little predictable), Jack Dee manages to flip the English language on its head and exploits his atypical mannerisms to maintain devoted attention for the two hour stint.
A true sign of a good comedian is the ability to maintain a connection with the audience, pulling them into his anecdotes and dragging them out of the awkward silences at the other end. Jack Dee undeniably mastered both of these requirements. The highlight has to have been the unexpected musical outburst of an encore as Jack Dee attempted to sing/talk the audience through his previous misadventures in employment. Perhaps unintentionally as is his persona, Jack Dee finds a way to relate to the audience through his stream of quirky narratives, leaving them in hysterics.
As the comedian reaches midway point in his 2012 tour, it’s safe to say that this grumpy performance wasn’t one to be missed. The self-confessed ‘friendly face of London 2012’ (obviously sarcastic), with an aptitude for turning even the most banal situations into a point of deep interest and humour, has certainly set the standard for future stand-up performances. He can even play the guitar.