Gary Meikle: Surreal | Tour review by Steve Bennett
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Gary Meikle: Surreal

Tour review by Steve Bennett

Gary Meikle’s an easy guy to like, chatty and open about his life as a single dad to his now grown-up daughter Ainsley and grandfather to her daughter Gracie, four, at the age of only 44 himself.

But given his stories are personal, it’s disheartening how much they are rooted in things we’ve heard so many time before. He talks about having a ‘dark’ sense of humour, but that mainly manifests itself in stories about bodily excretions, or occasionally displaying a bit of bad grandparenting, as he’s  uncharitably blunt about the toddler’s behaviour, a well-established comedy trope.

There are very few surprises in the hour, or his 20-minute pre-interval preamble. He can’t talk about an engagement without the obvious ‘ring’ double entendre, and at least three routines end in miming a dick being wanked.

Gender clichés include the usual observation that men can’t find the clitoris and the even more dated notion that women lay back and think about all the nice things the men will buy them.  There’s definitely a laddish air to all this – he’s far too nice a guy for it to be offensive, but predictability is a much bigger pitfall.

Some of the routines about bodily functions have their merits, such as his surprisingly charming efforts to make Gracie not feel bad about peeing herself at school, but an obsession with the topic risks the audience becoming inured to it.

Stories about giving sperm samples are a staple for male comics of his age, and while he evokes some funny images from his encounter with the plastic tub, they are concealed beneath a lot more pedestrian ideas.

Quirkier segments describe where vanilla flavouring comes from (it’s not quite true, but never let accuracy get in the way of a good gag) and the sex lives of octopuses and bees. These allow him to be a little more inventive, though he always feels more at home with the smut.

Despite the familiar material, or maybe because it is so undemanding, Meikle gets the laughs.  The Glaswegian has an excellent connection with his audience, which has been fostered over social media, and says he replies to every online message he gets.  He prefaces the show with a relaxed Q&A, sitting on the edge of the stage, too.

As the archetypal ‘funny mate down the pub’ comedian, he certainly puts the work in to make sure everyone feels they know him personally and breaking down the barrier between performer and audience. But being gregarious doesn’t feel like enough.

» Gary Meikle: Surreal tour dates

Review date: 20 Sep 2021
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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