Reviewer: Rosie Revell
The Public Reviews Rating:
Jack Dee has a reputation to uphold, he is famously cantankerous and sneery and he’s proud of it. In this, his first stand up tour in six years, a sell-out York audience was treated to this trademark grumpy, misanthropic world view and the audience lapped it up. On the surface Dee projects the persona of the curmudgeon without breaking a sweat; he has been doing this for 26 years now after all. It is fair to say he has finally grown into his grumpy old man stick now he’s in his fifties and no one else delivers it quite like he can. Nothing is safe from his cynical, weary view of the world. Yet there is a glint in his eyes when he delivers this and the audience lap it up. At one point he drolly quips ““Believe it or not I went through a period when I was really quite morose – but you come through it,”
Dee has taken it upon himself to tour to fill the vacuum the Olympics and Paralympics have left. The self-styled “happy face of London” effortlessly steers the audience through the irritants in his life; such as his teenage children, over familiar food packaging, an encounter with an electrician, an over familiar call centre rep and his own trip to a local pharmacy. Dee’s routine is well paced, varied and never dull. He cleverly interweaves regional and topical jokes into this routine with ease; Barnsley, Harrogate, Jimmy Saville and misbehaving maths teachers all get a mention alongside his regular material.
His observations about adolescence, likening it to mental illness segue effortlessly into musings about what would Jesus’ teenage years have looked like. A highlight is the invention of the ‘so what’ app that answers texts and tweets with ‘so what’ is inspired resonates with an audience universally weary with modern technology.
The encore is a treat with Dee returning to the stage with an undersized guitar serenading the audience with a song about the various rubbish jobs he had before making it in stand up and who knew he could do such an uncanny dog impression?
The show is thoroughly enjoyable and does not fail to amuse but it is just missing that certain something that would make it truly memorable and give it a higher review rating.