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Simon Munnery: Self-employed

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Julian Hall

As if testifying to Simon Munnery's enduring status as a comedian's comedian this well-attended afternoon show numbers among its audience Phil Jupitus and Jimmy Carr, whose honking laugh rings out incongruously from time to time. Munnery has also been seen by Peter Mandelson this year but I haven't decided what accolade is brought about by having the 'Prince of Darkness' at your gig.

Munnery's own spin on his absurd style this year sees him greet his audience as patrons of La Concepta Restaurant where art, not food, is on the menu and the choice of main courses includes a Swan Medley (facts about swans on bits of paper seemingly shaped into swans, though it was hard to tell from my view) and for dessert you could tuck in to the self-explanatory Absence De Mango.

When this ludicrous, but quite palatable starter is over Munnery gets stuck in to his stand-up portion that doesn’t always tickle the comedy tastebuds but always intrigues. On the less tasty  side there are routines like an arch and tenuous examination of John Lennon’s Imagine, the type of deconstruction oft used by another ex member Cluub Zarathustra, Stewart Lee, (incidentally three members of this grouping follow each other consecutively at The Stand, Kevin Eldon, Munnery and then Lee, a nostalgic coincidence indeed).

  This routine stems from one that tickled me much more, an apparent assault on Richard Dawkins and his God Delusion. Quite a departure from the normal fawning treatment the scientist gets from comedians it has Munnery suggesting all sorts of other titles that Dawkins might like to consider by way of rampant debunking including The Salad Delusion.

Most often Munnery is more of a gentle subversive and there’s a good deal of tenderness about his act including a tale of looking for a relative in London who he hasn’t seen for years, only to discover him with sunken eyes that suggest ‘he has seen too much.’

Similarly delicate observations help Munnery talk about his children and his testicular cancer, with a nice joke that links the two subjects.

  As one would expect there’s a tremendous artfulness to a Simon Munnery show. Despite the start, this is perhaps one of his least loopy shows and is slight at times. What a star rating cannot convey is that there is always much to admire about a show from Munnery and it’s never a wasted journey to see him.  

Review date: 28 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Julian Hall

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