David Hadingham Has A Darker Side

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

Laddish one-liners are David Hadingham's stock in trade - and he's got more than a couple of real corkers.

But his subject matter is so tiresomely familiar that just too many of the punchlines are easily predictable.

Here's the 'set list' of topics from the first three-quarters of the show: Releasing a savage pitbull's grip by putting a finger up its bum, drugs (love of), alcohol (love of), pornography (love of), masturbation (love of), drugs (reprise, the munchies material), women's genitals, menstrual cycles, tampons.

No prizes for innovation, then.

The show is saved from utter mind-crushing mediocrity by Hadingham's confident, sleazy, delivery - even though sometimes he lost the long battle against the Edinburgh Castle fireworks. (Who could have known that the venue's thin layer of canvas wouldn't shield the sound of several tonnes of explosives being let off a few hundred yards away?)

To be fair, Hadingham occasionally teases a new angle from the overfished waters where he seeks material, but it's the exception rather than the rule.

The gags are punctuated with a couple of gross true stories, of the kind that might grace the pages of FHM or Loaded magazine - and another that goes absolutely nowhere.

Then about ten minutes from the end, and with dazzlingly brazen hypocrisy, he announces that he's fed up with stand-up after ten years on the circuit because "you hear so many jokes you can predict the punchline".

This is the intro to what's billed as the dark material, tackling the taboos and stomping on sensibilities. And these gags are fantastic.

It's utterly evil, but a thousand miles from the hack material that forms the bulk of his show, and suddenly the audience is all laughs. His gag about Childline, especially, must go down as an all-time great.

There are, though, only so many of these sick gags an audience can take, and Hadingham wisely calls it a day after maybe seven minutes, just enough to save the show, not enough to get tiresome.

This brief segment goes to prove he has got the ability to think creatively. And if only he challenged himself - and the audience - more often, perhaps he wouldn't be so bored of the stand-up game.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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