Lee Nelson Live

DVD review by Steve Bennett

Watching Lee Nelson’s DVD is rather like watching a tour rep chivvy up a party of hens and stags through a Magaluf bar window. The crowd are having a whale of time, though from this side of the divide it all looks crass and embarrassing.

A fat bloke is urged to whip his shirt off and shake his belly, couples are encouraged to snog, and middle-aged dads spurred on to simulate sex with each other - all with the peer pressure of a huge crowd jeering ‘Do it! do it!’

It’s a bit uncomfortable, especially when for one joke, he goes up to a girl in the front row and fondles her breasts. In another segment his morbidly obese friend Omelette reads out cheesy chat-up lines to a member of the audience as the slavering crowd cheer him on – before he leads her backstage. Even ignoring the slight creepiness, it’s hardly well-written comedy to nick some lines off the internet.

If Lee Nelson’s well-educated creator Simon Brodkin once set out to affectionately mock the chav culture, he’s now completely gone native. He’s the conductor of all their wild fun, and you can’t deny he’s got excellent crowd skills and a cheeky enthusiasm which really gets the crowd going.

There’s a huge game-show element to the performance, most notably when Nelson brings up a couple of father-and-son teams to the stage and starts discussing the dad’s sexual preferences. It’s the comedy of humiliation, even if the victims seem happy to go along with the joke. But even if this is amusing the first time, is it really the sort of throwaway shenanigans you’d want to keep on DVD forever?

There’s no escaping this debut live DVD is more rabble-rousing than comedy. Sure, some of the switcheroo punchlines in Nelson’s stand-up routines are decent; but there’s also plenty of predictable, dated tosh about the Olympics in rough East London, or the looters and rubbish shops. Very poor ‘qwalitee’ indeed.

Published: 21 Nov 2012

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