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Simon Donald Is Completely Hatstand

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

As one of the creators of Viz magazine, Simon Donald has had a huge influence on the comedy scene, paving the way for such ‘ironic’ bad-taste comics as Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr through stupidly offensive comic strips and wonderfully gratuitous language.

Thirty years on, he’s moved from page to stage, presenting a new collection of characters, none of whom have enough distinction to make anything like the cultural impact of Sid The Sexist, Johnny Fartpants or the Fat Slags – despite some funny moments.

First up is Barry Twyford, a monotone-voiced market researcher asking the audience questions as proposed by the youth of Newcastle. No surprise it’s not your normal YouGov poll, but if anyone knows how to mine the inherently funny Geordie patois for laughs it’s Donald, and the payoffs are a joy, although the pace is slow and the humour begins to get repetitive.

Less assured characters include Rick Kestrell, a Cockney plumber to the stars who has one misdirection joke he repeats too often; and Dominic Farquhar, the overly familiar comic target of a posh student for whom everything is ‘literally’ ‘amaaazing’.

More successful is Bingo, thick as wet cement, attempting do ‘dae some jokes for you’ and fellow comedian Jeremy Jitler who’s forensically analysed the structure and form of stand-up, which he now parrots robotically. It’s Mr Logic, basically, but with comedy in-jokes.

Talking of Viz, Donald does just that, punctuating the character pieces with ‘an audience with…’ style anecdotes from the magazine’s history – run-ins with humourless publishers, legal shenanigans and the like, which always prove interesting.

He leaps from being himself and his creations by sounding a comedy hooter – hardly a huge vote of confidence that the audience will be able to tell where he ends and the acting starts; though he makes a decent fist of making his grotesques believable. Just a bit funnier would help, too.

Review date: 11 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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