Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre

Date of birth: 21-02-1976
The son of comedy scriptwriter Ray Cameron - who co-wrote Kenny Everett's TV shows with Barry Cryer, Michael McIntyre's first stand-up success came at the 2003 Edinburgh Festival, where he was nominated for the Perrier best newcomer award. He returned to the festival in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

In 2006, he made his debut at the Kilkenny comedy festival, returning the following year when he also added Montreal's Just For Laughs festival to his CV. In 2007 he was nominated for the Chortle Award for best headliner – a title he won in 2008.

He is a regular face on panel shows and on stand-up shows on both TV and radio, including the Comedy Store and The World Stands Up on Paramount and 4 Stands Up on Radio 4 in 2007/8, which he hosted.

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Michael McIntyre: Showman

Netflix special reviewed by Steve Bennett

For a benign observational stand-up, Michael McIntyre can be a surprisingly divisive figure among comedy aficionados. This review - and indeed his first Netflix special - is not going to change your mind either way as to the merits of his work.

Showman - its very title making no bones about the comic’s theatrical approach to his craft – contains some sublime despatches from ordinary life, expressing familiar scenarios with a clarity, verve and incredulous wit at how ridiculous it all is.

But it also contains some more pedestrian segments, which benefit from his technical superiority and bouncy, exaggerated physicality, but still feel a little emptier.

The purposeful strides that once were his trademark may have largely gone - though he does contrive a routine about moving like a ninja to stretch a visual gag across the full breadth of the London Palladium stage – but he gets laughs from his body from the get-go, from the unfortunate bunching of his jacket’s lapels to contorting his ‘chubby’ face. 

His portrait of domestic life is vivid, and widely relatable - a universality which explains why not every starting point is strikingly original. But he lets scenarios as simple as getting into a hot bath unfold with escalating detail, the stakes gradually ramping up to their inevitable conclusion with his deliberate, emphatic phrasing increasing the anticipation for each line. Dynamic act-outs then seal the deal as we relive his indignity.

If some of the attitudes are old-fashioned – such as the constant complaint is that his wife spends all his hard-earned cash on shoes – there are clearly plenty who identify. 

Indeed, there are so many ‘that’s so true’ moments here, from internet passwords - including a short routine getting the most from the pleasingly rhythmical sound of ‘www.’ – to trying to prise his teenage son from his Xbox. And the underlying notion is almost always that McIntyre is a man not quite as in control of his own life as he would like to be.

Away from the domestic, though, the comic is less distinctive on topics such as Australians being attacked by sharks, of being considered good-looking in South-East Asia (including a prescient mention of face-masks), and of Belfast being proud of building the Titanic, using a line that’s been a staple around the city for decades. But even these are peppered with images or lines likely to elicit a snort of laughter. 

Towards the end, McIntyre performs a chunk on accents and dogs’ sniffing each others’ balls, neither of which has much substance, even when combining them. And the alleged thoughts of his own Norfolk terrier are a creakily contrived mechanism to call back all the material that has gone before.

But some of those moments are perfect examples of the observational comedian’s craft, shining new light on what we’ve all experienced in a way that’s infectiously hilarious – and certainly shouldn’t be dismissed as too slight.

Michael McIntyre: Showman is released on Netflix today.

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Published: 15 Sep 2020

Michael McIntyre

This self-proclaimed posh bloke has a confident and…


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