Duncan Oakley's Favourite Things at the Manchester Comedy Festival

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

He’s a rock musician, who talks a lot about sex and uses the most offensive four-letter words with abandon. Yet somehow Duncan Oakley is strangely reminiscent of benign comic legend Terry Scott.

For at the heart of his often dirty set, there’s a cheekiness and childishness that’s about as offensive as Scott singing about ‘pinching little girls up the High Street’ in his ancient comedy-pop ditty My Brother.

Oakley’s material is, in its own way, just as far from the edge. Talking about boozing and shagging is de rigeur for the modern stand-up, and Oakley ticks these boxes. But while his material might not always be strikingly original, it is relentless. He has an ear for the joke, and they come thick and fast – no matter how daft, or occasionally how obvious.

There is, indeed, a frequent dash of silliness to his material, both in the one-liners and in tracks such as The Girl With A Bum For A Face, or the song about his pet fly who forms a band. They sound like titles the more whimsical and more established Boothby Graffoe might come up with, but Oakley’s driven by daft, simple gags rather than Graffoe’s stylised surrealism. You might even call him the unthinking man’s Boothby Graffoe.

But whatever limitations he has in other areas, he more than makes up with his gag rate; punchlines come at a heckler-proof rate and he has the confidence and the gift of the gab that will help him spa with the most lively audience, or inject a spark of energy into the most moribund one. The mischievous charm stands him in very good stead, and you can forgive a lot from someone who comes up with a joke as silly as his plectrum-swallowing one.

Oakley is an accomplished guitarist, drummer and harmonica player, but his biggest talent is his relentless bonhomie, making for an engagingly inane performance.

Review date: 22 Oct 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Manchester Tiger Lounge

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