For one thing, unlike Steve Coogan’s monstrous creation, Glasgow-born Yorkshireman Alun Cochrane is well aware of his own vulnerabilities; he doesn’t half fret about his capacity to maintain a 25-year mortgage unconvinced he can be funny for another quarter of a century, while worrying constantly about his newfound middle-class status. His consumption of organic couscous allied to his ability to buy property from a professor seems utterly askew to him.
And yet, like Partridge, Cochrane can rail against society’s mores with an often unreasonable rage. During his “contrary and misanthropic” sections, he goes hell for leather against businessmen with bad breath, catty dog-walkers, quiet-coach miscreants and his own fridge. Yes, it’s the “little things that shouldn’t matter but somehow do” that drives his comedy, but where the observational schtick of many fellow stand-ups offer nothing more than recognisable mundanity, Cochrane’s quality lies in a deft propensity to take matters into surprising corners.
It’s hard to imagine a Peter Kay or Michael McIntyre dreaming up the left-field downside to prostitution or redundancy that is offered here.
And Cochrane’s objection to ever playing an arena tour is not based on a lack of confidence or moral superiority, but through an off-kilter consideration for others.
Alun Cochrane may describe his act as “just a load of thoughts”, but rarely have such random musings been elevated to his level of hilarious artistry.