This is an unusually edited DVD, cut together from various performances of the show at different venues, and interspersed with brief insets of comedy characters discussing Gallagher’s work and personality. It’s as if some of the extras have leaked into the main feature.
Among them is a sour-faced newspaper reviewer, complaining that Gallagher doesn’t ‘say anything’ in his comedy. As defences against allegations of unoriginality go, it’s hardly original...
No one thinks comedy has to be “about” anything; but it’s probably not too much to ask for punchlines to go beyond repeating things we all – or, even worse, other comedians – have already said.
He does a bit about the uselessness of whistles on aircraft lifejackets (‘if you didn’t hear the explosion...’), about there being nothing British in the British Museum, only stolen goods, and – please spare us from anyone else trotting this line out ever again – how the Irish were the ‘gentlemen of terrorism because we’d ring up first’.
Gallagher has become famous across Ireland for winding people up in a hidden camera prank show; maybe this is just his attempt to wind up people who know their comedy. What other reason could there be for still doing Bill Hicks’s ‘available for children’s parties’ line in this day and age?
Elsewhere he talks about such open-spot staples as porn, going to the toilet and wanking... though at least this last topic gives him both a great line of (I hope) his own, and the chance to show off his immense on-stage energy and lively physicality.
For there’s no denying he's a supercharged performer, as demonstrated especially well in the smaller gigs. His habit of chuckling manically at his own material is initially offputting, but is a vital technique in engaging the crowd, and soon just becomes part of his comedy canvas. He’s the sort of performer who keeps telling the audience how ‘mad’ the night is – even though the edit means his disbelief doesn’t necessarily translate to viewers at home who weren’t party to the supposed insanity that preceded it.
There are some nice routines in here, especially the well-told anecdote about his drunken mother, and you can feel the energy he brings to a room, but the disappointing feeling of hackery is never far away.
Main feature: 61 minutes
Extras: At Home With The Gallaghers (8 mins) more of the characters; PJ’s Ma at the B&B (5mins) background to one of his best anecdotes
Released by: Universal Pictures, November 16
Price: £19.99. Click here to buy from Amazon at £12.98