Though he’s a genuine rising star of the comedy circuit, graduating from a first gig in January 2008 to an FHM award and career breakthrough on Channel 4’s The Last Leg during the 2012 Paralympics, there’s an annoyingly nagging sense during this Hammersmith show that Josh Widdicombe isn’t quite ready for a DVD just yet.
He’s certainly gifted, racing through tightly written observations of childhood, hotel buffets and Kellogg’s variety packs (‘a third of a bowl of 8 different cereals; the variety was that 3 of them were nice’), which are lapped up by a raucous, mildly leathered audience.
But while heckles or an early intervention by a problem-solving roadie allow Widdicombe to demonstrate the quick wit and off-the-cuff asides that made The Last Leg so enjoyable, he’s less adept at powering an entire show.
A former sports reporter for the Guardian, it’s clear this Devon-born 30=year-old is a talented writer, and he gets deserved laughs for dubbing Super Noodles ‘food for the lonely’, querying why giant Toblerones symbolize excess yet are ever seen in hip-hop videos and bemoaning that amateur jam ‘comes in jar that used to contain proper jam’.
But while this conversational, casual show certainly amuses, the laughs are chuckles, rather than belly-rippling. Widdicombe’s high-pitched indignation and cheerfully banal topics means the show smacks more of your funniest friend ranting in the pub, rather than an accomplished stand-up holding court in front of thousands in West London.
And Another Thing might be an outstanding stand-up show but it remains promising. Widdicombe’s a young, relatively new comedian but his speed and the intricacy of his writing suggests that this DVD might be the first step on a road to comedy greatness, once he decides to deploy a more unique voice.
Josh Widdicombe’s And Another Thing… is released on DVD on November 18th. Read all about the ultimate week of comedy here.