Paul Foot: Most Wanted

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

Paul Foot isn't so much a comedian, as an anti-comedian. His uncertain, rambling delivery and punchline-free routines continually flirt with failure - and failure often triumphs.

He ambles along the precipice of comedy, always on the verge of losing his entire audience. Then occasionally an offbeat line or unexpected non sequiteur will bring at least some of them back on his side.

But he's victim to the law of diminishing returns, and by the end of the show, he has alienated almost everyone.

That's not to say he hasn't got charm - he's got shedloads of the stuff - yet he wilfully makes his routine uncomfortable to watch, punctuated only by the occasional sniggers of relief when you realise he's not quite so drab as he makes out.

He has some lovely ideas. His self-referential clipboard routine was inspired, but ultimately (b) highly irritating, and a verbal recreation of the monotony of You've Been Framed doesn't quite crystallise into the gem it could be.

And a large chunk of the show is given over to a crime lecture. "But to get to it, I have to go through this piss-poor link," he explains in one of his more endearing moments.

Again, this extended routine is seriously misguided, utterly ill thought-out and shambolically delivered- which is, of course, the joke. But that doesn't stop any of these things being true.

Foot's chosen a brave path, to try to get laughs from his own awkwardness. But it's a very fragile persona to pull off, the distinction between a genuinely bad comedian and the comedy of the genuinely bad too easily blurred.

Foot hasn't yet got the ability to pull it off, especially not for a whole hour. Hopefully he one day will - and fulfil his potential to be a unique voice in comedy - but that day's not today.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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