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Greg Davies: Firing Cheeseballs At A Dog

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

The perceived wisdom is that to have a hit Edinburgh show, comedians need to add depth and meaning to their stand-up, with powerful stories revealing deep truths about the human condition.

Greg Davies not only sticks two fingers up to that convention, but waves them around in your stupid face, making fart sounds and dancing a jaunty jig as he does so. This a collection of autobiographical anecdotes that he is proud to boast are both ‘free of consequence and devoid of meaning’, delivered with unquashable, infectious glee.

The gaps left where that consequence and meaning should be are, instead, filled with laughs. Big, hearty, carefree laughs of uncomplicated enjoy-the-moment fun that ensure you leave the gig in a much higher spirits than you entered it. That’s far more important than any message.

It’s more than a little ironic that you learn nothing, given that Davies spent 13 years as a teacher – a real, if ineffectual, one, not the one he plays in The Inbetweeners. But he never really grew up into the authority role, as his routines here teasing his young charges and highlighting their strange behaviour is remarkably similar in tone to the segment describing his own schooldays, full of juvenile nicknames and the cry of ‘chinny reck-on!’.

Even as a full-grown 6ft 8in adult, is happily pathetic, making himself the butt of jokes while describing how he can amuse himself with such simple pleasures as the one described in the show’s quirky title. Some of the spontaneous moments he recalls with such joy are so brief and random, he can’t fit them into even the loose narrative of this show, so he writes them in a Book Of Pithy Tales, providing the briefest, but beautifully obtuse, punctuation to the autobiographical chapters.

For all the merriment from his past, though, the most fun comes from his parents – his prudish middle England mum and his ‘dangerously mental’ dad who, at 70, has decided to embrace the idea that he’s old enough to do what he damn well feels, and hang the consequences. Davies Snr’s ill-advised recklessness is matched only by his son’s skills in repeating the stories.

For all his protestations, there is actually a message here – and it’s the very simple one of savouring every moment that makes you happy, however stupid. This ultimate feelgood show is so jam-packed with such moments, you’d be a fool to miss it.

Review date: 11 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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