John Bishop: Stick Your Job Up Your Arse

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

John Bishop used to have a high-flying marketing job with a pharmaceutical company, earning him a good salary, a stable family life and a yeti-sized carbon footprint as he jetted around the world selling drugs that stopped the body rejecting organs.

Then he discovered stand-up… and, well, life’s no longer what it used to be.

This simple tale isn’t an obvious candidate for a full-length show, at least not when you’re competing for attention against hundreds of other Fringe comedians, almost all of whom would have jacked in some job or another to pursue the dream, even if it wasn’t such a successful career.

But that’s to underestimate Bishop’s skill as a storyteller. You can see why he did so well in sales, as he’s instantly likeable, a natural charmer and makes effortlessly easy connections with people – and that includes audiences.

He hangs various oblique anecdotes onto this autobiographical narrative, often very slight incidents but engagingly told. Being upgraded to first class on a transatlantic flight, for instance, or simply getting envious of a guy in a sports car, with pneumatic blonde passenger, and thinking: ‘You stole my life…’

This show is as much about his relationship with his family as it is about his relationship with comedy, and the two are inextricably intertwined. His settled life of cosy domesticity with his three small children was torn apart when his wife sought a separation – and it was only then that Bishop fell, accidentally, into stand-up. It proved a Damascene moment.

His story is well-constructed, satisfyingly complete and remarkably focussed for a comic who often has a tendency to meander. Yet while Bishop is always enjoyable company, the show in many ways still seems under-powered, perhaps because of the relative simplicity of his tale of epiphany or perhaps because strong punchlines only come along once in while.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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