Daniel Kitson: Something Perrier winner

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

There are clearly two sides to Daniel Kitson, and it's sometimes hard to reconcile them.

On one hand, you have the arrogantly confident ringmaster of the hate-filled comedy bearpit, effortlessly batting down the most aggressive beer-fuelled heckler with an assured quick-witted response. On the other, the delicate, vulnerable misfit who finds it impossible to talk to people at parties.

This is the basis for yet another touching, sublime and brilliantly funny hour that demonstrates how beautiful perfect comedy can be.

In his solo shows, Kitson is quietly leading a one-man stand-up revolution, subverting the new conventions of comedy. When he talks of cannabis, it's about the ignorance and dull conformity of smoking it. When he talks of masturbation, it's about the pitiful self-loathing that follows it.

He may be able to swear with the best of them, but beneath the bawdy coating, this is a surprisingly long way from the laddish stand-up you might expect.

Certainly, Kitson boasts of his on-stage successes, but he is also openly confessional about his many insecurities. He is a delicate romantic - a lonely, socially inept dreamer.

Such honesty offers him a unique starting point, from which he creates a complex comedy landscape. He tells it as he sees it - and his self-awareness, and his unfaltering knowledge of exactly how an audience will always react - makes a robust framework for the delicate humour.

Well, it's not always that delicate, to be frank. He gets as many laughs from creatively swearing as he does from a salient piece of social comment - but he will always find the laughs, as the comedy is coming from the heart.

He says he aimed for his show to be as bitter-sweet and touching as the fragile rock music of The Wannadies, and as inherently funny as a pigeon walking. Job done.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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