Resembling Russell Howard’s bumpkin cousin, Seann Walsh is a panel show regular but don’t hold that against him. While there’s little groundbreaking or innovation to his act, Walsh’s affability and radiant normality, makes him an effortlessly engaging performer.
Marcus Brigstocke’s belittled Peter Kay for his ‘remembering things’ comedic style but observational comedy will always resonate more powerfully with audiences than Brigstocke’s left-leaning rants or the deconstructionist brilliance of Stewart Lee. So while many of Walsh’s gags grow from a ‘you know when…’ premise, each ends in full-bodied laughter.
This DVD special, filmed at the now peculiarly-named Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, maintains a jaunty pace, at odds with Walsh’s repeated claims of lethargy and poor fitness. He’s certainly derivative at times, and fans of Jim Gaffigan or Russell Brand’s Ponderland series will feel an irksome familiarity when Walsh touches on the embarrassment of buying toilet paper, or the anxiety of returning a football in a public park.
Yet while the set is weakened by a lack of narrative or theme, Walsh bolsters it with his vigour and friendliness. Your own friends may have trotted out a Bane impression, an anecdote about drunk cookery or riffs on trip to the corner shop, but without the panache and pacing of this shaggy-haired stand-up.
He’s at his best when translating the extraordinary to the mundane, mocking the recent British obsession with Jagerbombs and niftily crafting a riff about how fans’ abuse of footballers would translate to office jobs (‘your girlfriend’s only with you because you work at Tesco’, shelf-stackers sitting wearily in front of the TV every night to find former employees analysing their poor performance on the shop floor.
Though you’d struggle to argue Walsh was a must-see in this very crowded stand-up market, his often hilarious and always empathetic act cements him as a populist, comfortable performer who’s got enough skill and wit to suggest an exciting future.
Sean Walsh’s Seann to be Wild is released on DVD on November 18th, and you can read all about the ultimate week of comedy here.