LAURIE COLDWELL: ‘Soon, he’s going to be big and you’ll have missed out.’
8pm, 30th April at Junction 2
You probably never listened to his BBC 6Music show on a Sunday morning. It’s possible you saw him on The Bubble, Have I Got News For You, Never Mind the Buzzcocks or even Michael ‘Look at me I’m running around and my voice is high, I’m so silly’ McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, but you likely just forgot about him. Maybe because he’s not a regular on Mock the Week, or because he’s not a ‘hilarious’ gay with a Radio 2 weekend show about how hilarious and camp he is (Alan Carr, you are a plague: being gay is not edgy). Which would explain why the audience was so devoid of students. That, or you thought revision was more important.
You’re wrong. Jon Richardson is more important than your degree. Check the star rating at the top of the page. Those of you blessed with basic numeracy will have counted 5 stars. Those of you without numeracy, I’m sorry, those stars must be upsetting, so let’s summarise: Jon Richardson is funny. Write it down. Tell your friends. Tattoo it to a horde of shaved cats and set them free in the Grand Arcade. Whatever it takes for you to realise and remember how funny Jon Richardson is. At the end of 70 minutes, he pushes you through the diaphragm pain barrier. He is haemorrhage standard.
Richardson is a misanthrope: ‘There’s misery in this world, you just have to look for it.’ Except he’s not; that would be an easy way of looking at it and he’s so much more than that. Richardson has a distinct comic personality. He’s a perfectionist, to a fault. Anybody who isn’t ‘just isn’t trying at life’. So terrified is he of failure that he fights shy of relationships – too much potential for disappointment – and finds otherwise pleasant experiences ruined by the slightest flaw. Life is to be lived with obsessive caution. Risk must be avoided.
Comic tension comes from walking a tightrope where he realises how ridiculous this is whilst – not even for a moment – relinquishing on his belief that we should all be living our lives like his. He gets angry for our sake: ‘If you’re not going to let it ruin your day; I’m going to have to take one for the team’.
But it’s his style which really pushes his shows forward: he simply retells real-life incidents that have irked him and how he practises his weak, petty revenge. He tells tales with effortless simplicity, as if they are unfiltered, unembellished accounts that just happen to have their funny moments, rather than something he’s crafted. It’s this apparent naturalness that makes Richardson so appealing. And funny.
He hits on the little things, but from a different angle. It’s not the tired old ‘have you noticed’, it’s a one man diatribe about how we should be better and stop being shit. And we should. We can start by going to see his shows. Soon, he’s going to be big and you’ll have missed out.