Felix Dexter: Not Just Another White Guy Lost In The Shuffle

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Felix Dexter’s talents as a comic performer are beyond reproach; but he comes a cropper in this disappointing show because of the simplistic, half-baked writing. It seems he gave up after coming up with the admittedly catchy title.

Get your I-Spy book of stand-up out to tick off the gags he’s doing that just about everybody else has already done: the 72 virgins promised to suicide bombers, Facebook, the unfeasibility of the virgin birth, drug-taking becoming an Olympic sport, the racist cabbies offering him inappropriate jokes…

He considers what it would be like to have a black US president – and suggests it should be Mr T. Fine, but he’s the third comic I’ve seen with that suggestion this festival – and even then, Richard Pryor was doing it long before it was ever a possibility. Yes, even his views on race, where you might hope he could put some clear water between him and the other hacks seems very lazy.

He considers Sir Trevor McDonald isn’t a ‘real’ black man, because he’s somehow betrayed his ‘roots’ by being educated and well-spoken. Yet this coming from a middle-class former Royal Shakespeare Company actor who trained for the bar. Why does black have to equal street? Perhaps it’s so he can do his party piece of delivering working-class youth patois in an posh accent. But again, it’s been done before, even if Dexter does it well.

Elsewhere, we have a couple of anecdotes without point, such as him finding himself in a dodgy nightclub, that seem to have no place in the rest of the show.

In truth, the only time Dexter really comes alive is as other people: the Nigerian cabbie, or the black Alf-Garnett type moaning that it’s ‘not political correct’ to spread his prejudices. Even here, however, it’s a triumph of performance over content.

But for the rest of the show, neither wins in a lacklustre nil-nil draw.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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