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Phill Jupitus: Stand Down

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

Making his return to stand-up after a decade away, Phill Jupitus treads carefully, with an hour of engagingly-written comedy that clings closely to familiar ideas. But although that lack of originally prevents the hour from sparkling, he’s got some deft lines and a solid presence that holds the crowd with efficient, dry humour.

He adopts the customary stance of the middle-aged comic fretting about his gradual decay, while envying the fecklessness of youth. But he doesn’t look his 49 years, especially as there’s much less of him than you might expect, as he’s shed more than six stones this year.

Still, he goes around the room categorising people by decades: the teenagers discovering sex, the twentysomethings continually drunk on vivid-blue drinks, the thirtysomethings with their dinner parties and chi-chi delis… It’s nothing you won’t have heard before, but Jupitus has a charming turn of phrase and the effective deployment of a few spot-on references to emphasise he knows what he’s talking about.

Other running themes include how elderly parents go mental and how much he hates Coldplay, especially as Chris Martin has nothing to complain about given his wealth and Hollywood beauty of a wife. If there’s one thing more dull than loving Coldplay, it’s moaning about how dull Coldplay are. And given that Jupitus is known for his encyclopaedic musical knowledge – surely he could have found some band less clichéd to complain about.

The show’s robustly constructed, the story about his teenage girl bringing home a boy for the first time – incontrovertibly the best, most truthful of all his routines – neatly bookends procedures. A running joke about a Welsh porn star mightn’t be all that funny, but provides some more skeleton to support other material.

Perhaps Jupitus needed to keep things simple as he took the plunge back into the live circuit, just to prove to himself he’s still got the basic talents to get an audience to laugh. Now that’s been ably demonstrated that he can hold a room well, too with a storyteller’s skill for modest but effective deliver, let’s hope for a return with more adventurous, or more personally relevant, material.

Review date: 13 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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