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Patrick Monahan

Patrick Monahan

Contestant in ITV1's 2011 reality/talent series Show Me The Funny.

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Patrick Monahan: Cake Charmer

Patrick Monahan: Cake Charmer
© Steve Ullathorne
© Steve Ullathorne

Ever-ebullient Patrick Monahan is everyone’s best mate, hugging all in his audience as if they were long-lost relatives, and quickly filling the room with such warmth and energy that we forget there are about 40 of us in a comedy club that could hold six or seven times that number. The bloke he pulls on stage for some Iranian dancing (well, I think it was Iranian; and I think it was dancing) instantly gets into the spirit of things.

But once that subsides, it’s clear Monahan is doing the equivalent of a TV warm-up, but for a show that doesn’t actually exist. For Cake Charmer is based on such flimsy material that no amount of bonhomie can disguise.

The hour is based on audience banter, but it never spins out into memorably spontaneous moments, like his fellow North-Easterner, Ross Noble. Instead it’s the pedestrian gig-lubricant of a competent club compere, but without the solid sets in between.

Monahan cannot mention anything without conducting his own over-enthusiastic Gallop survey of the crowd. How many couples are in? Who likes baking? Who’s got a flat-screen TV? Who knows what a palette knife is? Who does crosswords? Who knows what YOLO means? What’s your favourite cake shop?

The title is not a clever allusion, it is an hour (well 75 minutes, once the Monahan Overrun is taken into consideration) largely about cakes. He shows us a book of cake recipes and is astounded it cost £9.99, then describes the process of baking one. What’s the first thing you should do? Anybody? Pre-heat the oven, that’s right!

Then he does a bit on the difference between men and women with regards to cakes: apparently women can leave them in the house and only have a thin slither when they want, whereas men guzzle the lot in one go. Is this really true? I’m not convinced... and more crucially, don’t really care. Maybe my ambivalence towards baked confectionaries doesn’t make me the ideal audience.

Monahan returns to a more successful set-piece for his finale, playing matchmaker between two singletons via the medium of the Gangham Style dance (even if that’s so 2012!). He would be Cilla, but he’s dangerously close to Paddy McGuinness.

He gushes such a stream of positive adjectives that he makes The Fast Show’s ‘Brilliant!’ character seem like Derek Nimmo, so criticising such an enthusiastic bundle of joy seems like drop-kicking a chihuahua, but really this material isn’t up to scratch. The posters proclaim him the star of ITV’s Splash!, but he could do with spending less time on reality TV shows and more time writing gags.

Monday 24th Feb, '14
Steve Bennett

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