Reviewing any Tim Vine DVD is both incredibly easy and incredibly difficult. He rattles out stupid one-liners, ridiculous prop gags (‘mountain-earring’, anyone?) and the occasional preposterous musical interlude with cheesy, buffoonish charm. But then you knew that. Explaining further is the hard part.
The key to enjoyment – more than most other comedians – is how much you go along with this leering clown in the bright scarlet military jacket. His audience at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre certainly throw themselves wholeheartedly into the nonsense, cheering in anticipation at the mere prospect of support act John Archer manually moving a railway signal to indicate the show is under way. If you can be half as keen at home, you’ll be laughing…
The fact that some of the gags are atrocious is, of course, all part of the charm. Off-stage Vine always insists he doesn’t like getting groans – but he gets his share of semi-ironic cheers for his more agonising lines, and tacitly encourages it. It’s not as if he’s unaware of how foolish this unapologetically old-fashioned act is.
Yet his show is not just a corn exchange. Amid the forced puns come some imaginatively crafty bits of wordplay an comic would be proud of. It’s all chucked into his effervescing comedy cauldron as he’ll try anything to get a reaction, even a guilty one. That’s guilty in the ‘I can’t believe I just laughed at that shit’ manner – this family-friendly show is about as far from the offensiveness of a Frankie Boyle gig that comedy gets.
So while it’s not exactly sophisticated, the unstoppable attitude should tickle even the most jaded palate while the proper ‘joke jokes’ will delight those wanting a change from the T-shirted youngsters with their tales of awkward bus journeys.
The show’s only 62 minutes long, but you probably won’t get more punchlines per pound in many other DVDs. A change of pace comes in the extras, though. Apart from some cut gig footage (featuring the return of Flag Hippo, Vine die-hards will be delighted to learn) come a couple of disconcertingly odd short films mixing Marx Bros oddness, grainy reality and surreal storylines, much more quirky than his end-of-the-pier stand-up.
- Tim Vine: Jokeamotive Live is out now on Spirit Entertainment. Click here to buy from Amazon for £12.49.