Tony Hawks: Random Fun

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

In his previous comic endeavours, Tony Hawks has travelled Ireland with a fridge, secured a number one hit in Albania and played the Moldavians at tennis.

But he hasn't gone to quite the same effort here.

Random Fun is, as you might expect from the title, a rather ragbag collection of items, none of which has much substance.

To call it a show is to overstate the case, it’s more of an ‘audience with’ that author/comedian/Radio 4 regular/former voice of the Toilet Duck (a dubious honour he shares with Rob Brydon). The upshot is a couple of hours of urbane bonhomie from a man who describes himself as 'a fairly gentle kind of chap' rather than a notably hilarious or purposeful night out.

He shows us some embarrassing old photos of himself, gives us a smattering of jokes old and new, and sings an odd jaunty song. Then, in what seems like blatant padding to make up the time, invites the audience to leave him questions in a bucket during the interval.

Neither the queries – which largely concern his cargo pants – nor the responses prove particularly funny. But he has rather obviously planted a couple of questions to enable him to show off a party trick and screen a trailer for the recent film he made of Round Ireland..., which seems to be taking an audacious liberty with our time.

A couple of the audience questions disingenuously mix him up with the skateboarder of the near-identical name, even though it's a subject Hawks had already covered in probably the funniest section of the show, in which he answers emails confused American teens have sent him with a dry but cutting sarcasm.

But most of his humour is of an altogether milder type: soft MOR stand-up about such bourgeois concerns as Radio 4 newsreaders who say 'still to come...' and self-service checkouts that drone 'unexpected items in the bagging area'.

He has a few nifty lines, but also some that are surely older than he is – though that's no bar to them getting a ripple of applause from his charmed audience. Likewise, many of the observations are of the level of a mildly amusing tweet.

Hawks demonstrates his versatility with some cod Shakespearean acting and a couple of musical tracks, including a song about how dogs and cats differ and a rendition of his 1987 Christmas No 23. A section in which he interprets song lyrics literally isn’t the most strikingly original, but he does it well – something of a theme for the whole night.

There’s little particularly imaginative here, but a likeable man ambling though some inconsequential thoughts. Underpowered for stand-up, but more entertaining than had he just read from his books, it rather depends what you are seeking from your comedy night out.

Review date: 5 Dec 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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