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Jeff Leach: A Leach On Society

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

Good stand-ups reveal something about themselves in their performance, and within seconds I learned something significant about Jeff Lynch, without him having to say it. ‘I bet he studied drama,’ I thought as he postured and pranced around the stage. And true enough, he’s a product of Warwick University’s drama department.

But those are skills which will have to be unlearned – or put on the back burner at least – if he’s to be a credible comic. At the moment, 18 months or so into his stand-up career, such well-practised campness make him seem just a little bit too fake as he struts around with his sleeveless T-shirt and over-emphasis on talking about his willy.

‘Just because you wear the gear, it doesn’t make you Russell Brand,’ he says of himself at one point, suggesting a good dose of self-awareness – although not quite enough to have bypassed the issue.

Leach now earns his money as a TV presenter, hosting the late-night Friday National Lottery draw on the BBC being his most high-profile role. But although he’s charismatic and charming, he doesn’t particularly seem to like talking as himself. Every routine is a re-enactment, so you get a sentence or two in his own voice, before he acts out the scene with exaggerated accents and physical emphasis. That’s a useful comic trick, but it seems to be his only one.

However, his youngish audience seem to like it – one drunken Scot disruptively so – as he talks about the creepy teacher at his school, the doctor with big fingers performing a rectal examination, or his Romanian mother who talks like Sesame Street’s Count. All of these impersonations are made into recurring callbacks that get tiresome, as they are so often used in place of a real punchline.

In the end, all his talents did come together in a marvellous story about a bad drug experience that ended in an ambulance ride to A&E, and another about the female orgasm, where all his writhing around on the floor is completely justifiable, and used to great effect.

The result is that the last 15 to 20 minutes of his show are pretty darned impressive, even if a clumsily theatrical payoff featuring the Lottery voiceover man as the voice of God is unnecessary. But there’s just too much overacted nonsense to get through first.

However, Leach’s heart seems in the right place and this is remarkably early days – most comics of his experience might just be polishing up their seven minutes for So You Think You’re Funny? – so you’d be a fool to dismiss him yet.

Review date: 12 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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