Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Christian O'Connell Edinburgh comedy show "radio" review

Christian O'Connell has been getting good reviews (Chortle: "a decent fist", The Independent: "solid", The List: "moments of genius") for his Edinburgh show, which runs for another couple of weeks. There is also a wonderful interview with him in The Stage, which is revealing and rather touching.

Here is the "radio-skewed" review of his set I sent to RadioToday, which they said they'd run and don't seem to have done. Seems a shame to waste it. If you're really bored you can see how it compares to the review of the same show I wrote for the Dorking Advertiser.

Okay, RadioToday review follows:

"Being funny on the radio is a very different discipline to being funny on stage - but with this set Christian O'Connell proves he can do both.

Christian's one-hour Edinburgh show inhabits the same blokey universe he cultivates on his Absolute Radio breakfast show. It's a world populated by men staring aghast at the encroachment of responsibility on their ever-diminishing island of fun.

The show is based on Christian's discovery of a list he wrote at the age of 13, describing various things he would like to achieve by the time he reaches 40. The list has provided copious material for his breakfast show this year and provides a series of useful jumping off points for his set.

References to the day job are well-handled. He has a routine about teaching his daughter how to deal with bullies at school  ("all you have to do is show them this - my Q1 2013 RAJAR results - and they'll see  my year-on-year audience share has increased 17.6%. So you can tell them I do have listeners…"), as is the what-happened-next story following David Cameron's potty-mouthed outburst on Absolute Radio in 2009.

Other subjects include Kelly LeBrock (with a brilliant one-liner about her former husband Steven Segal), Darth Vader, Ferris Bueller, marriage, fatherhood and online porn. The latter becomes something of a theme throughout the set (I'm not judging) and Christian's stories about hunting through bushes for magazines as a teenager ("in the 80s we didn't have Google - we had to forage") were very good.

The show ends with a listener email (in Edinburgh it will end with a video, which wasn't quite ready for this preview), which is deranged enough to be hilarious in itself, but is then superbly deconstructed to ensure the evening finishes on a high.

It's not for everyone - the woman sitting next to me went long periods without laughing, presumably because she'd never been a 13 year old boy or a 40 year old man. But for someone like me, who was a 13 year old boy and who also turned 40 this year, the material rang true, far too often.

If you like what Christian does on the radio and you are going to Edinburgh, make sure you see this. It's rude, it's honest, it's funny and as the redoubtable Comedy Cottage host Sajeela Kershi said to me after his set, far better than many other experienced comedians.

End note: Christian very kindly sent me the finished video this morning. It's ramshackle and charming and sums up his set, but being honest, I reckon he should finish on the listener email. 

Christian O'Connell is appearing at the Udderbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh, from 31 July to 20 August  2013

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