Early in this disc, Sean Lock passes comment on his material in typically modest style. ‘I do know it's not hilariously funny - but it's not boring, either is it? I think I've found a new area of comedy.’ He suggests his aim is the sort of routine that will have old men in pubs muttering wistfully into their pints: ‘Funny old world, innit?’
As you’ll gather, Lock is certainly not one to overplay his hand. This probably isn’t the most sought-after attribute in comedy, but he can make almost everything seem mundane.
But behind this unfussy attitude lies a sharp and inventive writer, with a knack for the perfect metaphor. Even on over-familiar topics he produces distilled gems. Katie Price has skin ‘the colour of a hangover piss’, while Twitter is popular with celebrities as it’s ‘perfect for people who can't shut the fuck up – even when they’re on their own’.
Though his writing may be quirky, he has a much more conventional approach to subject matter, which largely sticks to such safe old favourites as Lidl, reminiscing about how crap life was in the Seventies, or the degrading experience of flying EasyJet. Yet the most entertaining moments are when he lets his imagination off that observational hook – from his dismay at his wrinkled forehead to his vivid description of Madonna as an avaricious, and surreally Australian, sex machine. In this routine, and a couple of times elsewhere, he unleashes a surprising physicality, too – all the more effective for being out-of-character.
His attempt at improv with a game of ‘audience battleships’, a device to add some variety to the stand-up, is a little less certain, but he shrugs along with the sort of insouciant charm that characterises his whole set.
Yet among a glut of comedians who put energy, movement and likeability over substance, with Lock the words are key. You are never far from a smart line, with some played with such subtlety they don’t necessarily milk a massive laugh, but are all the more satisfying for it.
But someone really should have proof-read the DVD menus more carefully… he surely doesn’t have a routine about beer and ‘pawn’.
Sean Lock: Lockipedia
Recorded at: Hammersmith Apollo
Running time: 98 minutes
Extras: Extra Lockipedia (21 mins outtakes); Live At The Apollo (20 min set); Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow (12 mins set); Tour slide show (10mins of photos the tour manager took)
Released by: Universal Pictures, November 22
Price: £19.99. Click here to buy from Amazon for £12.91