Michael McIntyre – WiP – Leicester Square Theatre

Tuesday 18th May 2010

In the basement for another dose of Michael McIntyre, working to perfect his routine for the upcoming Comedy Roadshows.

A small treat for those arriving early as the owner of the Leicester Square Theatre allowed people into the main hall to see Andy Sharrocks & The Smokin Jackets. Not really a country music fan, but I thought the band were pretty good.

In the basement, John Gordillo was up on stage first, but unlike previous shows, he performed for over 20 mins. Practising for his appearance on the Comedy Showcase at the Comedy Store, He had the audience in stitches talking about his Spanish father’s Communist views. Both the accent and the material were spot on.

At one point, Michael McIntyre jokingly barged open the door to correct John Gordillo on the number of venues and people who had seen his sell-out tour. Slightly disparaging for the support act, who to his own admission is barely able to sell out venues in Leyton Buzzard.

Unfortunately, Michael McIntyre’s performance on the night was slightly under par, but to be fair to him, he was unwell. One of the highlights was when he asked if anyone had any paracetamol, only for an audience member to provide him with an astonishing array of tablets. That inevitably lead to a fun exchange with the audience, involving a number of the drugs on offer.

A fun night out, with John Gordillo outshining a rather poorly Michael McIntyre.

Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Showcase – Comedy Store

Monday 17th May 2010

Time for Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Showcase at the Comedy Store, as the first of five back-to-back comedy nights.

At the Comedy Showcase a couple of weeks ago, Imran Yusuf and Hal Cruttenden stole the show. Referred to as the FA Cup of Comedy, it was now up to a new set of 8 acts to perform their magic. Arrived early and chose the second row, purposely missing out on the front row and any potential eye contact with Michael McIntyre, in case he destroyed me again.

To be fair the front row provided excellent material for Michael McIntyre to comment on, especially the couple and her parents. Although, he was gobsmacked when a girl said she was a funeral director, only for her boyfriend to add that he tidied up soldier’s graves. To everyone’s surprise they didn’t actually meet at work.

Luckily for Michael McIntyre he had other considerations to worry about. Namely, the spider that was gate crashing the event. In sight of everyone, it was now stationed between himself and the front row. Something had to be done, as the audience was fixated on the spider. Obviously, he’s seen the original Karate Kid. A few swift moves and he’d dealt with the spider. Similar to his observation of people attempting to get water from the latest style of wash basins (those without the usual taps).

There was a variety of performances on offer on the night, including musical comedy from the imaginative Paul Thorne and the somewhat scary Loretta Maine. Good performances too from Andrew Bird and Saleem. If anyone was to edge it on the night it was probably Kojo, Andrew Lawrence and Paul Chowdry. However, my personal favourite was Ed Aczel. One of the most absurd, yet innovative acts I’ve seen. He’s unlikely to make it onto the Comedy Roadshow, as he’s not mainstream enough, but his work with the flip chart was hilarious.

Another superb night out, with some outstanding performances on the night. Good luck to all of the performers.

Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Showcase – Comedy Store

Monday 3rd May 2010

Following the resounding success of the Comedy Roadshow for both Michael McIntyre and his guest comedians, it was announced that the Comedy Store would host a series of eight Comedy Showcases.

Referred to as the FA Cup of Comedy, the show kicked off with Michael McIntyre warming up the crowd. I’d seen him the previous day, in another venue about 200 metres from the Comedy Store. Of course, by now I pretty much know the whole routine, even though he adds the odd new element here and there. I enjoy his interaction with the audience and was also looking forward to eight top comedians strutting their stuff.

I was gutted that I’d forgotten to charge the battery for the new camera. Even though there was an announcement that no photography was allowed, it didn’t stop a girl in the front row literally pointing her camera at him. After about a minute or so, a bemused Michael McIntyre realised that it was unlikely that she was taking so long to take a photo. ‘Are you recording this?, if so, why didn’t you wear all black and sit incognito further back?’ The cheeky girl immediately put her camera away, only later to give him her tickets to get signed, during the performance.

The performances on the night were really entertaining from Gary Delaney’s one liners to Andy Askins’ offbeat comedy songs. Good performances too from Rob Rouse, Charlie Baker and Lucy Porter. However, the stand-out performances came from Ian Stone, Imran Yusuf and Hal Cruttenden. All three had the audience in hysterics throughout the whole of their routines. If I had to pick one, and to be honest all 3 were exceptional on the night, I’d probably give it to Imran Yusuf. Nevertheless, I hope that all 3 make it to the Comedy Roadshow.

Superb night out, with some outstanding performances on the night. Good luck to all of the performers.

UPDATE: Imran Yusuf has been comfirmed as a guest performer on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.

Michael McIntyre – WiP – Leicester Square Theatre

Sunday 2nd May 2010

Almost 6 weeks since I’d last seen Michael McIntyre, so it’s back to Leicester Square Theatre for another work in progress gig.

In the foyer, I’d overheard Michael McIntyre ask “who’s playing in the main theatre?” As I walked past, I said that it was “Bill Bailey”, then quickly moved on, taking my seat in the basement. After our previous encounter, at one of the earlier work-in-progress shows, I didn’t fancy being in the spotlight again.

John Gordillo kicked off the proceedings again with another good performance, before paving the way for Michael McIntyre to take over. The material was similar to the eventful one in March, but with slight tweaks here and there. Rather than tweaks, it probably has more to do with the way the details are remembered and then performed. It seems he prefers to remember the topic, rather than the whole routine. This leads to a different version of the same gag every time.

Michael McIntyre asked the 50 odd audience for a show of hands if ‘Road’ formed part of their address. Then asked if anyone had any alternatives. My mate kept trying to shout out mine, but thankfully he was blanked throughout. Surprisingly, ‘Street’ was never mentioned, but loads for ‘Avenue’ and ‘Lane’. Then a lady shouted out ‘End’, which took McIntyre and the rest of us by surprise. McIntyre played on the fact that it sounded like she wanted him to ‘End’ the performance, with a witty routine.

Another enjoyable night out with Michael McIntyre once again entertaining a tiny room of people.

Channel 4 Comedy Gala – O2

Tuesday 30th March 2010

The Channel 4 Comedy Gala, in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, brought together an unprecedented wealth of talent from the world of comedy and beyond.

The O2 was packed out, in anticipation of ‘a 3 hour comedy relay’. Each comedian appearing for this worthy cause had approximately 3-5 minutes on stage, performing a mixture of old and new material. With a great view near the stage, Stomp kicked off the show rolling out Alan Carr from one of their dustbins. After warming-up the audience, the comedy baton was passed to Jason Manford, Jo Brand and Sean Lock.

Jonathon Ross then took over presenting duties, introducing Kevin Bishop and Patrick Kielty. After a short video message from Ricky Gervais, Wossy managed to convince the audience to shout out the C word in unison. I wonder if that will make the DVD cut. Rob Brydon and Gok Wan followed, with a pre-recorded Kevin Bishop routine, before introducing Andy Parsons and Mark Watson.

A few boos as Katie Price and Alex Reid entered the stage, soon turned to cheers as they introduced Michael McIntyre, who was subsequently chased off stage as he mimmicked the cage fighter. After a short interval, Bill Bailey accompanied by Kevin Eldon, performed a superb musical routine.

The mis-matched Christine Blakely and Facejacker’s Terry Tibbs eventually paved the way for Jack Dee. He humourously destroyed many of the performers backstage, before announcing Shappi Khorsandi onto the stage. The adorable Catherine Tate’s Nan joined in with the action, before introducing Noel Fielding. James Corden’s Smithy and Ruth Jones’s Nessa were up next before passing the baton to John Bishop.

David Mitchell took over presenting duties, in advance of the appearances of Jack Whitehall and Rich Hall. The comedy finale featured Jack Dee welcoming Lee Evans onto the stage. At the end of his performance, Jack Dee gave Lee Evans a Channel 4 award for outstanding comedy. He accepted it and immediately put it up for auction, with one member of the audience offering £5,000.

It was a superb night of relentless comedy, with a long-list of exceptional performances. The Channel 4 Comedy Gala was an outstanding success, raising over £800,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. A big thank you goes out to everyone involved on putting together such a great event.

Michael McIntyre – WiP – Leicester Square Theatre

Wednesday 24th March 2010

Thanks to an announcement on Twitter, I’d booked a couple of £6 tickets to see Michael McIntyre’s Work In Progress at Leicester Square Theatre.

Unlike previous occasions where I’d seen Michael McIntyre at the Trent FM Arena, Wembley Arena and The O2, it was nice to see him try out his latest material in a small and intimate venue. As there were no specific seating plans, we arrived early and my mate suggested he’d like to sit right at the front. I was slightly dubious at first especially as the front row was almost touching the tiny stage.

Comedian John Gordillo kicked off the evening, before finally introducing Michael McIntyre. Within seconds, he noticed the lack of air, along with a strange odour in the basement of the Leicester Square Theatre. To his and our amazement, he was handed a foot-long air freshener by the guy behind the bar. This gave him enough ammunition to improvise a whole new routine. Although, I’m not sure he needed to spray as much air freshener as he did, almost causing many of the audience in the front row to pass out. Luckily we all survived and there was no need for the pursuit of any lawsuits.

Michael McIntyre’s new material was well thought out and at numerous times had the audience in hysterics. The comedy definitely worked well in a smaller venue. He did comment though at one point during the performance, when I slapped my thigh instead of clapping like the rest. I was holding a beer in one hand, but with him no more than a foot away, it hard to miss a lazy attempt at applauding.

He then checked with John Gordillo as to how the performance was going. Having been told he’d managed 40 minutes, he seemed really pleased with the reaction to the new material. Then for some unknown reason, I couldn’t help but jokingly mutter, “well 20 mins was on the air freshener”. McIntyre laughed and then repeated my comment.

In a nutshell, the next 10-15 mins went something like this and throughout the audience was cracking up, including McIntyre.

(MM) [tells the audience] He cheekily said I spent 20 mins talking about the air freshener
(MM) What’s your name?
(CS) Chris
(MM) Where are you from?
(CS) Winchmore Hill
[I know not to say London to that one – he then did a routine on Harrow on the Hill and I thought that was it]

(MM) What do you do?
[I hate that question. It’s always been my biggest nightmare to be asked that at a comedy event]
(CS) Nothing
(MM) What did you do today?
(CS) Can’t think of anything
[I seriously couldn’t think of a single thing as not much had happened]
(MM) Wow, you’d be really be good at speed dating! From the time you woke up, spanning all those hours, you can’t think of a single thing?
(CS) No. Oh I played darts.
[I actually made that up, as I hadn’t played darts earlier. I couldn’t think of anything at all. I thought it was the best I could do, as I had played almost everyday in the past couple of weeks]
(MM) The only answer you can come up with is Darts. Nothing either side of that.
(CS) No just darts.
(MM) Did you threw a dart, it landed on the keyboard and that’s how you managed to book tickets tonight?
(CS) Yeah something like that.
(MM) Is it real darts or like those fake velcro soft darts?
(CS) No real darts.
(MM) Where do you play with these darts?
(CS) In the backroom.
(MM) And who did you play darts with today?
(CS) Alone
(MM) Something tells me that you probably lost.
(CS) It was close
[he seemed to like that comment]
(MM) So do you live with anyone?
(CS) No, I live alone
(MM) Oh I feel really guilty now for saying all that stuff!
(MM) Are you here with anyone tonight?
(CS) Yes a friend
(MM) Oh he has a friend!
[MM applauds and turns to my mate]

Now I could relax, as it was my mate’s turn to answer a few questions.

(MM) And what’s your name?
(SN) Stefano
[MM on hearing Italian accent, rolled off a few Italian based jokes, also referring to the Italian on the air freshener. Stefano actually corrects a couple of his pronunciations]
(MM) So where are you from in Italy?
(SN) Florence
(MM) Florence, amazing beautiful place. Where do you live now?
(SN) Queens Park
(MM) So you came to Queens Park, looked around and thought this is for me, beautiful architecture, I’m leaving Florence.

There was so much more. That was loads of fun and the audience got an extra 15 minutes or so of Michael McIntyre’s astonishment at some of the simplest and bizarre answers in history. I then remembered why I couldn’t think of anything to say as I had gone to bed at 6am, up at 2pm, primarily due to watching 15 episodes of Countdown (mainly the numbers game) and also wrote a review of the previous time I’d seen him. Glad I said I did “nothing” as he would have had a field day with either of those responses. He shook our hands and off he went.

Another memorable and really entertaining evening, with a mixture of immense joy and disbelief. So much so I didn’t get round to taking a photo. I’ve since booked more shows to see Michael McIntyre, but will probably avoid the front row, as no doubt he may try another speed dating routine on me!

Michael McIntyre – O2

Tuesday 17th November 2009

I’m seriously not stalking Michael McIntyre, having seen him already on tour at the Trent FM Arena and Wembley, but the guy puts a smile on face and leaves me no option but to book tickets again!

Once again, a quick song and dance in the British Music Experience Museum was becoming a ritual. Luckily, the Bee Gees vocal failed to record. The again, 4 of us crammed into a small area dancing to ‘Staying Alive’ by The Bee Gees was good fun. This was preceded by 3 of us attempting Happy Monday’s ‘Step On’. That routine for anyone watching looked like 3 escapees from an Institution.

Our floor seats were excellent this time around, with just 3 rows from the stage. And what a difference that makes, especially as binoculars were a requirement during the Wembley show. Michael McIntyre came on stage and immediately ripped into a girl who for some reason or another refused to sit down.

Of course, having seen the show twice already, most of the material was as expected, but still made me laugh. I think it’s the sense of knowing what’s coming and the anticipation that everyone around you will be cracking up in a second or two. He covered the snooker action, morning breath, bullshit wine production, pausing VHS tapes, dragon’s den, anti-wrinkle creams, buying shoes, naked men in changing rooms to name but a few topics.

As the show was nearing Christmas, he performed a superb festive routine that wasn’t part of the previous shows. Once again, Michael McIntyre excelled and having seats up close made the experience even more enjoyable. His original tour was always going to take something special to top it, but this came close and hopefully in 2010, he’ll raise the bar even further.

Michael McIntyre – Wembley Arena

Saturday 3rd October 2009

Another chance to see Michael McIntyre in action, this time much closer to home for both him and us. No chance of arriving late this weekend, as a friend was driving and he’s always prompt!

On this occasion, our floor seats were way back from the stage. So when Michael McIntyre joked about the audience being so far away they could have just bought the DVD, I have a feeling most people might have been in agreement.

Finally, McIntyre got to shout out ‘Hello Wembley’, a likely ambition for many southern performers. One of my favourite moments was when he joked about the action when playing snooker being similar to tossing off someone behind you. I played snooker almost every week throughout my early teens, so it’s just one of those hilarious things you’d never really think of.

During the break I met up with friends sat elsewhere in the arena. One commented that comedy didn’t really work in a large arena, unless you were sat near the stage. Another commented, that he felt McIntyre was too rehearsed.

My personal opinion was that McIntyre seemed slightly nervous, possibly because it was in his home town or possibly because it was being filmed for DVD. He seemed much more relaxed in Nottingham a week earlier. The crowd also seemed warmer in Nottingham than at Wembley.

Once again it was a fun night out and well worth the trip up the road.

Michael McIntyre – Trent FM Arena, Nottingham

Saturday 26th September 2009

The weekend rolls on with a trip to Nottingham to see Michael McIntyre perform at the Trent FM Arena. From nowhere it seems, McIntyre has attracted an instant following and his UK tour is a sell-out.

I’d originally booked this event as I was hoping Forest would be playing at home, so therefore it would have been a kind of Grand Saturday. Unfortunately, Forest were playing away at Plymouth, live on Sky the following day.

The plan was to leave around 4pm giving us ample time to drive up to Nottingham. Well with things like train delays and even trains not appearing, it took a friend over 2 hours to get across London. In any case, we managed to get to Nottingham around 8pm only to waste more time looking for a car park. Then unbelievably, even more time trying to find a way out of the car park!

McIntyre was already on stage for about 20 minutes before we were led to our seats, which even that was an ordeal. In no time at all, thoughts of the last few hours disappeared, as McIntyre had us in hysterics. His observational humour was proving a delight for the audience in Nottingham, as everyone around us seemed to maintain a constant smile, followed by an outburst of laughter.

Michael McIntyre knows how to play the crowd. The material on Buying Shoes, the Bullshit Production on Ordering Wine and Morning Breath had everyone laughing from start to finish. Like Peter Kay, he is simply saying the things that you’re likely to have experienced. The difference is the purely delivery, with both comedians having mastered the art.

It was a pleasure to see Michael McIntyre in action. With central floor seats in a large indoor arena, it’s amazing how comedy shows have flourished in recent years. With another couple of McIntyre bookings to come, this time closer to home, I may yet catch a full show. In any case, it was another wonderful night.