Despite the fact that we don’t watch much TV, even Mrs Chrisparkle and I know who Jack Dee is. In fact we remember him winning Celebrity Big Brother – that was twelve years ago, would you believe. We’ve always enjoyed his TV appearances and rather warm to his persona as a grumpy old git. Would he be any different on stage?
No, not really, although I was surprised that he looked a bit older than I was expecting. He does make humorous references to his well-established reputation as a lugubrious grump and he has some very enjoyable routines about promoting “so what?” in conversation. But this “couldn’t care less” attitude does not extend to his own performance and what must be extensive preparation for a show like this because it was presented in an immaculate manner, full of extremely funny and clever observations that never for one moment feels forced or unnatural. Whether it be talking about his family, the visiting electrician, life on the road or sex with a donkey, it all flows at a perfect pace and you believe every element of it is true.
His comic observations are intelligent and perceptive, but instantly recognisable as part of everyone’s day-to-day lives. For example, the silly rules and rituals that everyone follows when they are either giving or asking for directions, are here exposed in a brilliant routine where I, for one, was saying to myself “I do that too!” And you don’t realise the bizarreness or stupidity of what you regularly do on such occasions unless you have someone like Mr Dee confess his own experiences. And I loved his take on the 21 units of alcohol maximum. So true!
A packed Derngate had a jolly good night’s comedy of the best kind – where you go home understanding a bit more about what it is that makes us all tick. Unsentimental, unapologetic, but never cruel, he tells it like it is. Two hours (precisely) of top quality entertainment, his tour continues until November. A class act.