Chris Roche

Chris Roche

Oldham comedian Chris Roche started performing stand-up in April 2003, and was a finalist in the City Life North West Comedian of the Year that year and the next. He also made the finals of the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2004. In 2006 he supported Jason Manford on tour.
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Chris Roche – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Perhaps it’s because he knows there’s a critic in the room, but Chris Roche is on the defensive from the start. ‘I wanted to be a political comic, he explains. ‘But I ended up just doing Northern gags, as that’s what they want in the North. So I’m just going to do gags.’

Nothing wrong with gags, wherever in the country you come from (even if comedy tends to be better when it’s not guessing at what ‘they’ want). Even the most political, whimsical or philosophical comic needs to say things that make the audience laugh.

But Roche rather undermines his point, as he isn’t a particularly skilful gagsmith, even by his own parameters. He has got a couple of cracking lines, sure enough, but they tend to be the exception. Nor does he have the sparkle and chutzpah of the archetypal slick-but-hack Northern comic, instead delivering his material in a natural low-energy monotone.

His points of view are familiar: wondering why fast-food joints don’t tell fatties ‘sorry sir, you’ve had enough’, noting that people drunkenly slur ‘I love you’ to virtual strangers, commenting on the ear hair he’s spouted now he’s older and moaning how he doesn’t understand the young people of today with their txt speak and their Bebo.

It doesn’t help, too that he starts the gig with a gag more widely associated with Jimmy Carr: ‘Women are like buses…’ It’s surely nothing more than coincidence that they both came up with a similar line, but once one comic has committed a joke to DVD, it’s pretty much lost to anyone else.

But more often, rather than the gags he professes to deal in, he just expresses grumpy exasperation of the ‘poking on Facebook, what’s all that about?’ kind, with few punchline to back it up. And when he turns his ire onto his wife, it seems horribly misogynistic.

But then he talks about her affair and how it left him devastated. It explains a lot, but turns the atmosphere strangely bleak. However, he does manage to claw the mood round, as he moves on to the entertainingly embarrassing tales of trying to date again.

As a whole, though, the set is inconsistant both in its quality and its originality – torn between derivative gaggy observations and something a little more personal. He seems to know it, too, apologising for some of the less funny moments, which gives him a vulnerable likeability.

But until he works out where he wants to go with his comedy, he won’t be able to get there – and it’s not just a matter of North or South.

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Published: 3 Mar 2009

Hitting Funny

Warning  No 1: Always beware theatrical reconstructions…


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2005

Hitting Funny


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