Dave Baucutt : This Time It's Personal

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Once upon a time, it was a running criticism of many hour-long stand-up shows that they comprised a tight 20-minute set, honed over years on the circuit, 20 minutes of newer, less assured material, and 20 minutes of banter.

I never thought I’d pine for those sort of ratios.

Dave Baucutt is one of the ever-growing army of incompetent, self-deluded chancers trying to put together an hour, when it would be a huge surprise if he could get a second five-minute unpaid booking at anything but the shoddiest of clubs. The only point of this show seems to be to justify his delusions of being a comedian because he’s got his name on the poster. On which, incidentally, he managed to spell the show’s name wrong.

That revelation is the one laugh of the show, and we’re laughing at him, not with him.

To say he was dreadful would be to suggest he’s even tried to put together a show and failed. This falls so far below this minimum, as he just chats about his life working in John Lewis and being pissed off with his French ex-girlfriend. A joke that’s on his website: ‘I work for John Lewis so if you don’t like my comedy at least you can san say "Hey, at least he gave me good customer service."’ Is as good as it gets.

It’s as if he’s a real-life David Brent trying to entertain people, completely unaware that comedy needs punchlines, laughing weakly and self-consciously at their own muddled attempts at getting an idea across. His comments aren’t even on nodding terms with funny and the few that are close to humour, like the observation that people who trip in the street try to incorporate that in their subsequent walk, are old and weak.

It’s a cliché of reviewing comedy to say it’s like chatting to your mate in the pub. Well, this is like an awkward conversation with a stranger at a bus stop.

This was never going to be the easiest gigs, on a sunny afternoon with just five people in the audience. Especially with an ill-prepared ‘act’ like this.

Although I’ve described Baucutt as unaware of his failings, he does seem to know this is going to be terrible experience. ‘Just 50 minutes to go,’ he tells us five minutes in. Way to make us feel excited. He keeps apologising and hoping this show will be ‘awesome by Edinburgh’. Edinburgh 2017 would probably be ambitious. Maybe by Edinburgh this year, he’ll at least have stopped reading his notes off his phone (which keeps locking, adding awkward fumbles and swipes). How about rather than forever apologising for doing this, just not doing this?

He seems constantly surprised we haven’t walked out and bails out at under 30 minutes, to everyone’s relief, but not before doing his ‘finale’ which involves a dance that’s stilted and uncoordinated, but probably isn’t meant to be.

It comes as a huge shock to discover that this is actually his SECOND solo show, having inflicted himself on Edinburgh last year. The bottom line is Baucutt just isn’t a comedian. One day he may be, but he – and countless others like him – should be performing at least a bankable 20 minutes before asking people to spend an hour in their company. Talk about running before you can walk; Baucutt is attempting a triathalon while still a zygote.

Review date: 23 May 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton Quadrant

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