Micky Flanagan: An' Another Fing | Review by Steve Bennett at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham

Micky Flanagan: An' Another Fing

Review by Steve Bennett at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham

How do maintain your image as man-of-the-people comedian when you’re positively minted? Micky Flanagan decides the direct approach is best: ‘I’m just gonna talk abaht it,’ he says. After a couple of typically cocky gags about his millionaire status, he suggests: ‘For the next couple of hours, imagine I am still like you.’ It’s very easy to do.

Boasting of your wealth is not the done thing, of course, but Flanagan is not concerned by ‘the done thing’. Political correctness doesn’t enter into gags about hating the French or doing the dubious accents of his ‘foreign’ cleaner or African passer-by. Though to be fair he does a lot of accents in the show – from Alex Jones to Liam Neeson – and they are all merrily dubious.

Flanagan seems slightly torn between the old and the new. Perhaps not surprising for someone who grew up on a poor London council estate in the 1960s and 1970s,  where he entertainingly recalls how antisocial behaviour could be counted by the effective deterrent of the ‘cup of cold piss’.

When applied to material, his inbetween position means he can mock both the attitudes of old-school husbands escaping down the pub as their wives were ‘on the blob’ as well as the fey, super-sensitive millennial new men claiming menstruation as ‘OUR period’.

Though he strives not to be, Flanagan feels a little closer to to the former,  certainly in the very traditional way he talks about his marriage. 

’Er indoors is a ‘she who must be obeyed’ figure, him walking on eggshells not to upset her. Built on the differences between useless men who can’t find their way around a card shop and implacable women, these gags strike a cord with a lot of his audience, though I must admit to finding it harder to relate to his stereotypes. Likewise, the extended routine mocking the TV show Eat Well For Less – one of the many lengthy digressions that form the structure of the show – inevitably loses impact if you don't know the programme.

His repeated focus on being middle-aged – or ‘young elderly’ as 54-year-old Flanagan prefers –  certainly resonates with his audience of largely similar vintage. Yes, that means covering familiar ground such as incontinence, though the emphasis and rhythm he imposes on the phrase ‘piss patch’ makes it his own. 

Occasionally he slips into the familiar, from ridiculous children’s names,  Jeremy Kyle, the folly of camping or recalling porn ‘in my day’, while calling bullshit on the likes of hands-free reiki healing is fish-in-the-barrel stuff.  

His anger is better directed when he vents against the feckless Frogs across the channel – an apparently xenophobic outburst which gets laughs on that level alone, but when he explains the culinary atrocity that sparked the outrage, the exaggerated response makes perfect sense.

Flanagan’s wealth entitled him to take a year off, and he describes in vivid detail hanging aimlessly around the corner shop, desperately waiting for the pub to open so he could while away the hours with a pint and the paper. It’s evocative imagery, if more wistful than laugh-out-loud, suggesting there’s a linguistic creativity beyond Flanagan’s smart-mouthed Cockney bluster. 

But there is that too: a lot about sex, and the bodily functions that take the romance out of his marriage, and as many c-bombs as his impish smile lets him get away with. And that’s a lot.

And if he feels his twinkle-eyed wide-boy charm is waning in his 50s, he has the perfect solution: to go on a Saga holiday where he’s suddenly the youthful beefcake pulling a Poldark around the hotel swimming pool. It’s a preposterously tall tale, especially given his aforementioned wealth, but he sells it convincingly.

For cheeky charisma is as much a part of An Another Fing as any of Flanagan’s other shows, even if it sometimes seems to prop up more workaday stories. Certainly, none of the digressions matches the enduring, universal hilarity of his ‘out, out’ routine, though that is, as he tacitly acknowledges, a high benchmark he has set for himself.

Micky Flanagan: An' Another Fing is on tour until October. Dates

Review date: 2 Jun 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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