Kevin Precious: Aging Punk Rocker at 2011 Brighton Fringe

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

If you are looking for the spirit of punk in Kevin Precious’s latest show, expect more of Anchor-butter era Johnny Lydon than the filth and the fury. For this is a straightforward hour of comedy from a competent operator, but if there ever was any spittle-flecked anarchy in his soul, it’s long gone.

But don’t be thinking this is an analytical tale of how he’s mellowed from rage-filled youth to comfortable middle-age, either. The fact the music of his youth was Johnny Lydon and his ilk is only of passing relevance – the references might be from punk, the bulk of the show could be about almost any genre.

Precious uses a few unremarkable anecdotes – such as his parents’ dislike of a rudely titled Buzzcocks B-side – as a rail on which to hang routines about anything from the X Factor (basically ‘what the hell does Danii Minogue know about talent’) to tabloid scaremongering. The idea of Royalty gets a gentle ribbing, inspired by God Save The Queen, and he also touches on religion and racist attitudes to immigration. But these are well-covered subjects in the world of comedy, and although his heart’s in the right place, he doesn’t have the sharpness to stand out.

Although this is still an early outing for this show, when it comes to insight, Precious’s drawer is pretty vacant, as he serves up a largely safe selection of generic stand-up. Proof, should it be needed, comes when he mocks the fake West Indian street accents of white youth, as much as a staple of today’s clubs as the ‘thick Irishman’ gags were 35 years ago.

He was never a full-on punk, describing himself as a bloke from Hull ‘in drainpipe trousers and badges’ and today he’s a mild-mannered teacher and affable comic. He lets a few left-wing ideas peek through, which suggests he might have more to say should he choose to delve – though he never really does.

A circuit veteran, he knows how to hold a room – even one as quite and under-attended as this one – and there is a small smattering of jokes that stand out, in particular one about an Alive!-style plane crash and another about charity fundraising. But generally he doesn’t stretch himself, so most his comments and ideas fall only into the category of ‘mildly amusing’.

That we leave to Syd Vicious ‘singing’ My Way ironically only goes to underline that Precious isn’t cutting a particularly distinctive path.

Review date: 26 May 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton The Temple

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