Jason Manford

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

From moment he walked on stage it was clear that this was not going to be the easiest of gigs for Jason Manford. Suffering from a bought of rain-induced flu that would have had other comedians tucked up in bed, Manford showed an admirable (and increasingly rare) sense of professionalism in getting up on stage to entertain his packed audience of twenty and thirtysomethings.

Renowned for his laid-back, likeability, it was apparent that Manford’s carefully crafted veneer of Manc charm was a its thinnest tonight; but despite obstacles such as sickness and surrealist heckling from two Spanish acid casualties draped in full-size Scottish flags, he gave us a great show with plenty of laughs.

Even in the wake of his success as a panellist on Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Manford stayed true to the amiable, down-to-earth style of humour that he always possessed.

None of his material could be described as cutting edge; some of his jokes tackle very well-worn subjects such as footballers, Ryanair and how your dad drove when you were a kid, but Manford has an innate ability to take even the most obvious observations and make them seem fresh and still incredibly funny.

Now recognisable as ‘him off the telly’, more than ever Manford’s power lay in making the audience feel relaxed and comfy, almost as if they were at home in their slippers. Although everything about him and his style is constantly and proudly Mancunian, from Oasis as intro’ music to gags about the late Bernard Manning and his Embassy club, Manford’s success lies in playing the role of the recognisable ‘funny bloke down the pub’that all British people know and love.

In the show he juxtaposed some of the more ‘wey hey hey’ end-of-the-pier gags and occasionally second-hand observations with his sharper material, such as the section about the brain when driving, and did so in such a way that the audience could always feel safe and never fear being taken out of their comfort zone.

In an increasingly large and bewildering choice of comedians at the Fringe, Manford proved himself to be a sure-fire festival winner, guaranteed to deliver laughs no matter what obstacles or audiences he’s presented with.

Reviewed by: Becky Singh

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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