Though primarily known as the compere at the Comedy Pit venues he runs in South London, Banks also performs his own act in the guise of a rough diamond ex-con.
However, he shuns the expected tough-guy shtick in favour of some airy-fairy surrealism, in which toughened lags compete for jail-block supremacy by means of the Chocolate Hob Nob.
The discrepancy between image and material produces its fair share of laughs - though many are more out of bewilderment than the result of any well-crafted punchline - and it is an inventive way to subvert expectations.
Banks isn't particularly disciplined about the character, though, and he includes anecdotes, such as the time he played a working men's club, that don't sit naturally with the ex-con persona. But they are funny, if showing their age, stylistically.
His delivery, though confident, is loose and under-rehearsed, frequently punctuated with the subconscious verbal tic 'sort of thing' as he meanders to link the gags, rather than following a slick, tidy path.
This lack of discipline even more evident when he comperes one of the mixed bag of gigs he calls his own, when he has a tendency to witter on about the ins and outs of the comedy game, regardless of whether the audience seem interested. As the old line goes, he is there to make the other acts look good.Date of review: Jan 2005
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