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Paul McCaffrey

Paul McCaffrey

Finalist in the 2008 Laughing Horse new act competition

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Paul McCaffrey: Paul Or Nothing

Paul McCaffrey: Paul Or Nothing

Paul McCaffrey’s life should be a sitcom, the minute he steps on stage he hold his hand aloft and proclaims himself married, although it’s not clear whether he is displaying his wedding ring as badge of honour or a shackle. He then launches into tales of woe and mishap that would make perfect 20 minute episodes, with mostly happy endings and perhaps sidelong glances at the camera.

He seems like someone who, 20 years ago, would have been a happy-go-lucky Jack The Lad who, now that he has seen it, is a bit jaded with life. But moaning suits him well. You definitely wouldn’t want to make a mistake in front of him. He could spend a half hour tearing you a new one.

But although McCaffrey has some very funny things to say, he spends a good amount of time setting them up. A handful of fantastic gags are spread thinly, with too much repetition and preamble, during which you find yourself trying to figure out what the punchline is going to be. It is unlikely this is his plan. Fortunately he doesn’t always go the obvious route and more than once we are caught off-guard with well constructed bits that get big laughs.

There is no common theme and a few times he seems to introduce a new topic without it going anywhere. The set seems like a jumble of stories begging to be tied off nicely but never quite seem to be. Disjointed is the word.

When he chats with the audience is when he shines the brightest. He is quick and jovial, bantering effortlessly with the front row without picking on them. Several times he returns to the same people, and reacting to their input rather than just using it as a jumping-off point for the next routine.

Without doubt a little more effort in rounding off the corners would turn this from a decent Fringe show into an awesome one. McCaffrey's material is very capable, if he can find a way to say each joke in half the time he will get twice the laughs, of course he may need twice as many gags...

Monday 4th Aug, '14
Graeme Connelly

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