Scott Bennett: Great Scott | Tour review
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Scott Bennett: Great Scott

Tour review

‘The comedy industry doesn’t think I’m cool,’ says Scott Bennett, more as a statement of fact than a lament. And the evidence is there: he’s the sort of comedian who gets invited to open for ancient crooner Englebert Humperdinck.

But coolness doesn’t always equate to ability or bankability – just look at Michael McIntyre – and Bennett’s latest tour cements his reputation as an incisive, witty and astute commentator on the lot of a weary, middle-aged dad.

Not being fashionable also feeds into his low-status shtick of battling valiantly - if always unsuccessfully - against circumstances. He’s bested by his wife, his young children, and the universe itself. He’s not recognised by door staff at venues he’s playing and can’t secure a remortgage with Nationwide, even when fronting their TV ads.

It might be considered in the vein of Rodney Dangerfield’s ‘I don’t get no respect’ persona, but with anecdotes rather than one-liners. And Bennett plays up the underdog with his prodigious banter with the audience, depicting them as all being out to derail him with their terrible or odd responses.

Exaggerating this might seem disingenuous, but it’s damn effective. For all his protests of being on the back foot, Bennett is in expert control of the conversation. He weaves the interaction seamlessly into his prepared routines, calling back to traits he set up for certain punters whenever he needs a suitable foil. It’s a masterclass in adding a frisson of ‘in the moment’ unpredictability to otherwise tightly written routines.

These are unabashedly mainstream stories drawn from his life as a 43-year-old father of two young children, from dealing with the dietary requirements of their birthday party guests to the tumult of taking them to Disneyland – not that they were grateful for much of the delights of the Magic Kingdom – and on to the closing routine about an ill-fated trip to the swimming pool.

Observations are equally relatable, from the smart meter snitching on his wastefulness to the dads stubbornly thinking they know better than satnavs, that subtly reveals so much about misplaced masculine pride.

Yet Bennett knows any such traits in himself will result in his comeuppance. Further feeding into the put-upon schmuck narrative, he acknowledges that his wife Jemma does much of the heavy lifting in the family, making decisions for him and briefing him ahead of every social encounter. He presents it a spirit of gratitude that she’s got his back, rather than any suggestion of the nagging wife trope; she’s definitely portrayed as the competent one holding everything together.

Whatever his shortcomings at home, no such weaknesses are displayed on stage, as Bennett is a stand-up in fine control of his material, his delivery and his image, drawing on archetypes of hapless male behaviour without being totally defined by them.

This barnstorming show followed an opening set from fellow Nottingham-based comic Matt Bragg was slow to start, but he won the room round with his droll, sardonic set and tight gags – think Jack Dee’s worldview in Frank Skinner’s accent, all wrapped in a mod’s fashion sense.

Together, they made for a hugely entertaining night of no-frills stand-up, proving the much-derided ‘mainstream’ tag is no barrier to excellence.

• Scott ​Bennett’s Great Scott tour continues in Glasgow tomorrow, with various dates through to next spring. Scott ​Bennett tour dates.

Review date: 26 Oct 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Comedy Store

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