Jeff Green: Life Ache

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Jeff Green is very proud that his show this year has a theme, for a change. That theme is marriage, children and relationships. Genius!

However, these all-encompassing topics have taken on special importance for him lately, since he’s got married and had two sons of his own, even if he’s not exactly the first stand-up to seek comedy in childbirth and the death of dreams that becoming a family man can spell.

He does, however, deliver his material impeccably well, with a remarkably subtle sense of timing, and his still fresh-faced looks disguising a cynicism born from a lifetime of being put-upon.

There is a lot of hideously generic material here, from calling the mic stand ‘Posh Spice’ as he moves it out of the way, to the old ‘gimme six’ line when he’s talking about some inbred backwater. Comedy snobs will be grinding their teeth.

His outlook is equally widespread among other comics of a certain age. He does a routine about going caravanning proving he’s a loser, as per Mike Wilmot, while tales of being put off sex after witnessing his wife give birth, of feeling uncomfortable with nakedness in gym locker rooms, or of the tedium of other people’s dreams almost come off the peg. It makes Life Ache almost an anthology of standard comic attitudes on family life.

His audience can identify with his broad point of view, however, and there’s a warmth and believability behind his every anecdote that makes it more enjoyable. Add, too, his subtle skill with words, the slick, fluid delivery that allows him to run seamlessy from one segment to the next, and the liltingly soft Cheshire accent, and you have a very charismatic act indeed.

Once he’s won the audience’s confidence with the mainstream observational chit-chat, he does venture into more ‘earthy’ matters, such as oral sex while driving or teenage fumblings in his mum’s car. But it never runs any risk of being offensive, as he’s always cheeky, never explicit.

It’s broad, safe comedy – but there is always a demand for such uncomplicated stand-up, which Green is well-qualified to satisfy. He is, basically, a beige act – but probably the most interesting shade of beige we have.

Reviewed by Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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