Gary Colman Is Very Rarely Rong: Leicester Comedy Festival 2010

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

This Gary Colman isn’t the tiny wife-beating sitcom star, as he understandably has to point out from the get-go, but a former doctor for the SAS. I can only hope he was more focussed on that job than he is with his comedy.

He has some good lines, but they’re surrounded by so much unnecessary flannel as to deaden the impact. This show is based around a few long stories that need to be shorter, suggesting that within this hour lies a perfectly serviceable 20-minute set.

Only the last of his yarns is about his time with the special forces, presumably either for fear of being typecast as the SAS guy or for breaching the Official Secrets Act. This is by far his best work, detailing the experience of an untrained medic out of his depth when mixing with Britain’s fearless elite. It’s so compelling that you forget it’s comedy – and only later realise there weren’t actually many gags in the anecdote, though he tells it with a winningly self-deprecating good humour.

The longest of his tales is far more frustrating, telling of the time he became a have-a-go hero when witnessing a mugging from a night bus. The basis of the story is good, and there a couple of twists to drive it along, but it’s not particularly well-told, with extraneous information and a jumbled narrative diluting the effect. There are kernels of fine gags along the way, but again they’re not quite sharp enough to hit the spot. But you can usually see the potential and understand why the ideas are funny, but they don’t hit you with enough force.

Between the tales, he’s even more fuzzy, and he certainly didn’t hit the ground running, squandering his vital first impression with lots of ill-developed blether. But he dealt with a very drunk, keen-to-join-in heckler with grace and aplomb – another tantalising glimpse of what he could be capable of, if only he was as ruthless with his material as his former military colleagues are with their enemies.

Review date: 7 Feb 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Leicester Criterion Pub

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