Comedy review: John Bishop; Glasgow SECC
FOR stand-ups who have become prime-time television fixtures, the arena tour is a tricky balance of acknowledging your success while retaining empathy with your audience.
How do you maintain the common touch in such an enormous environment and resist the temptation to simply grandstand?
With a nod to his exceptional year and childhood memories, John Bishop’s set – a massive rollercoaster-cum-helter-skelter that the Scouser slides down on to the stage – suggests he may have let fame go to his head. Yet he appreciates that he can’t gloss over his celebrity and Sport Relief Week of Hell, and that crowds want to know what it’s like to play football at Old Trafford with film stars and ex-pros. He cuts dead the whoops that accompany these namedrops by mocking himself, delivering a twist on the clichéd, middle-aged comic’s prostate examination with the intimate waxing he suffered for his long-distance cycling endeavours.
Invited to meet David Cameron, he tries and barely succeeds at playing the bolshie class hero. Most strikingly, though, he bad-mouths his wife and teenage sons, the teasing digs at ‘er indoors capably offset by a twinkling eye.
There are no mind-blowingly memorable moments, but it’s all very assured, with the odd routine, such as a slightly dark Megan Stammers bit, reminding you that Bishop hasn’t just settled for being a mainstream turn. Even the more gratuitous anecdotes, like the inspiration he took from Mike Myers, are ultimately justified come the amusingly daft finale.
Rating: * * * *