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Joe Lycett: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

Joe Lycett is the very picture of an up-and-coming comedian. He has the laid back delivery and confidence of an old hand, with the mischievous material of a young stand-up.

Overly keen to share the intimate details of his life, he begins by expressing hatred towards his own penis. He's young and it does nothing but misbehave and ruin his day. He follows up with some highbrow toilet humour, throwing some crowd work into the mix.

Softly spoken with an absurdly unusual accent, Lycett is hard to pin down. He's new age camp, with some of the barb of Julian Clary but none of the flamboyance, instead exhibiting an everyman tone with a metrosexual lack of masculinity. His armoury consists of wit, charm, and the enviable ability to elicit laughs through cadence alone.

A bisexual, Lycett apparently prefers men but stops short of announcing his score on the Kinsey scale. This crops up with a routine about Grindr (a gay phone-based social network), as well as jocular lechery towards the older male audience members.

His interaction with the audience is a pleaser, with him questioning the sexuality of at least two punters (all in good fun) and an ad libbed running joke about couple who run a bed and breakfast. Lycett is not afraid to leave the stage and get up close and personal for an interrogation, which can be overkill.

Over the hour, it becomes clear Lycett is a mischief-maker and a rebel, with a penchant for writing humorous letters. This has been done before but never as well. Lycett's deliberately naive yet sadistic style is more reminiscent of Australian humourist David Thorne (the man who tried to pay a bill with spider drawing), as shown in his letter disputing a parking ticket where he threatens to starve a child at his orphanage.

While the letters get big laughs, the rest of the set is only passable. Observational comedy isn't Lycett's forte and he's yet to master the balancing act of mixing surrealism with banality. There's also too many easy jokes and obvious punchlines with charisma outweighing the content. But there are glimpses of brilliance here.

Review date: 20 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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