Marcus Brigstocke: Planet Corduroy

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

Marcus Brigstocke has the superiority and contempt only generations of poshness can imbue. But as a woolly-minded liberal, he has found more deserving targets than the oiks and the servants.

After favouring a more character-driven approach, this is his first stand-up show here in a while, thus giving him plenty of back catalogue to draw from. The discipline of working on Radio 4's The Now Show has added a hefty pile of topical, or at least once-topical, material to the pile, too.

What he's not so good at is the banter, which makes it a surprise he tries to sustain it for quite as long as he does. And when a drunken heckler derails the whole show with the surprisingly valid criticism that he's mocking the troops in Iraq, it takes him a while to regain control. When you're floored by someone who couldn't avoid bumping into the furniture on her way in, that has to be cause for concern.

But that was the only distraction, even if a substantial one, from his eloquent derision of all that's wrong with the world. From American foreign policy, obviously, to less sexy topics such as the EU constitution, Brigstocke combines a savvy distain with a keen wit.

Despite his natural middle-class reticence, he does get fired with passion at the wrongs he sees, even suggesting he offer his own wife up for rape in the name of his liberal values ­ a routine which finds itself outside the audience's comfort zone, unsurprisingly.

His ruthless demolition of the loans and Claims Direct-style ads preying on the poor and vulnerable, which is a roof-raising staple of his normal stand-up set, is simply superlative, cutting brilliantly to the point. But his biggest bugbear is the Daily Mail-reading intolerants from his own social group. They may be a frequent comedy target, but surely deserve everything they get.

In this, as in so much of his material, it's the way he articulates his scorn that makes Brigstocke such a classy comic.

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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