Craig Campbell at Latitude 2010

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

It may be only just after noon, but Craig Campbell easily holds the attention of a couple of thousand Latitude-goers, packing the vast comedy tent and beyond.

The Grizzly Adams of stand-up projects the sort of rugged outdoorsman person that these one-off campers can only aspire to; a no-nonsense, get it done attitude that commands the marquee.

As a ‘Canadian who live among you’, Campbell tells the British they are a nation of frugal, emotionally stunted drunkards. He means it as a compliment, and having lived here for 12 years knows how to flatter, however unlikely it may seem.

At face value, his set is based on the compere’s favourite trick of mocking various nationalities. But Campbell largely avoids the obvious stereotypes and speaks both from experience, and with love.

His own compatriots are mocked for their meek compliance, whereas their southern neighbours are teased for their over-reaction to everything, as illustrated by a story of his encounter with highway patrol cops. In fact, brushes with authority are common for this imposing but affable figure.

His experiences as a foreigner in these lands provide the flip-side to the nationalty-baiting, and the way he’s impressed by everything from the NHS to our lax attitude to the Highway Code can’t be faked.

And that’s the essence of Campbell’s appeal; he’s 100 per cent genuine, with entertaining yarns from his life and an obvious joie de vivre that’s nonetheless subdued. He is, after all, not American.

Review date: 25 Jul 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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