Phil Nichol: Things I Like, I Lick Perrier nominee

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

It's rare these days to experience a genuinely exciting stand-up show, a show with a sense of danger and expectation in the presence of a truly unpredictable comedian.

Phil Nichol is one of those comics.

Though his show is obviously structured, a glint often enters his eyes, sparking a frisson of anticipation as you wonder exactly what's going to happen next.

This sense of the unexpected is brought to a head in the surprise ending. Phil has invited a performance artist to devise a different way to close the show each night, keeping him completely in the dark - an inspired idea that has already led to some bizarre scenes.

It's a far cry from the style of show's opening. Announced as the king of deadpan comedy, Nichol sets out with some laid-back one-liners, a delivery at polar opposite to his usual shtick.

But clearly this is just a gag, and Nichol quickly descends into frenzied rage, his veins throbbing and eyes bulging as he launches a vicious tirade against the catalogue of pain that has hit him over the past year.

Arrested after rowing with a train stewardess, dumped by his long-term girlfriend, laid up in hospital, deprived of his life savings and randomly punched in the face on a London Tube platform, it's been a miserable 12 months for Nichol. But at least it gives the rest of us something to laugh at.

The anger at these injustices fuels some passionate and exciting stand-up. Here's a man whose hacked off with the world and isn't shy about expressing it with so much energy he must be breaking at least two laws of thermodynamics.

Yet even this tempestuous fury subsides, thanks to the reasons to be cheerful that Nichol listed during his enforced hospital stay - the Things I Like which help bring the show to an upbeat conclusion. But not before we've had some belting songs, dollops of tasteless fun and a hefty dose of gloriously nihilistic attitude.

Nichol's definitely going on my list of Things I Like.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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