Matt Hollins: Life In The Bus Lane

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Matt Hollins once won a comedy award previously won by Johnny Vegas, a fact he proudly advertises on his promotional material.

Understandable, because it is probably the only similarity he will ever share with a well-known comedian, or indeed, any comedian

In his hour-long set, it was hard to remember that this was a man who professed to be funny, who actually makes a living out of it.

Starting off with not so much a bang as a muted fizzle, he struck up a conversation with some men in the front row. Hollins talked to them about rugby, he talked about their jobs. No jokes, no witty repartee, just a conversation. With a microphone.

He then moved to what he must have considered his material, listlessly intoning in his Midlands drawl about buses, biscuits and rugby tours. The buses thing, incidentally, appeared nothing more than a gimmick on which to title the show. He didn’t really have anything of any relevance to say on the topic.

He used to work in a biscuit factory. He talked about that for a while. It didn’t sound very interesting. Or particularly funny.

Meanwhile, time dragged on and the audience sat in an embarrassed silence, looking at their watches and fidgeting.

Sensing that things were not going well, Hollins turned again to the audience for inspiration. He found two Oxford University students, one of whom came from his hometown of Leicester. You might have thought this would have been enough to set off some kind of comedy light bulb in his head, but apparently not.

Instead, he made a painfully slow deduction that while the student did come from Leicester, he studied elsewhere. Then they discussed roads in the city and a local landmark that no one else had heard of.

Finally, he asked if everyone wanted to see the show’s grand finale. There was an understandable lack of enthusiasm, until he threatened to continue for another half hour. The ‘grand finale’ turned out to be Hollins standing on stage holding flash cards in a spoof of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues.

This was the only vaguely amusing part of the show. Sadly, it was too little, way, way, too late.

Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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