Review: Josh Widdicombe- Brighton Comedy Festival

Walking out into the intimate Brighton Dome Theatre to a sold out show, Josh Widdicombe holds the microphone in his customary fashion of close to his chest. “Anyone from Brighton?” Silence. “No? We are in Brighton right? I haven’t walked into Stoke by accident? If you’re from London we could have all saved ourselves a trip and done this up there.” Despite Josh being less than intimidating, the close proximity has left the audience unnerved. As if by fate, Josh asks the audience member with a stammer where he’s from, questioning the man’s pause before discovering his condition, “Well, thanks for making this really awkward!”

The set is essentially a rant, or vent, against his issues with some of the smaller problems in life. Taking shots particularly at ATMs: with cash points questioning if he wants coco pops: “I want money not something to make my milk chocolatey”; as well as their buttons being unaligned with the on screen options and momentarily panicking about how much he’s actually withdrawn; then finishing with people who request receipts– “I’m only here for the memory”.  He moves onto his gripe with Wetherspoons providing classic hardback novels in their pubs, “I don’t think they’ve understood who their typical patron is”.

The beauty of these comical rants is that he isn’t focusing on any big world issues, but venting these particularly small everyday occurrences as if they are.  Moving onto luxury items in Duty Free and pondering why Toblerones are considered a luxury item – wishing he’d see them more in hip hop videos – to electronically signing for parcels that essentially looks like a deranged mark of zorro; and onto people who save voicemails, “This is a good one,” like it’s a ‘Best Of’ compilation. Every seat may have an arse on it due to Widdicombe’s TV panel appearances and short sets on Stand Up For The Week – and said arses thankfully won’t find too much space between this show and what they’ve seen on their screens.

Anyone ranting for this long about the topics mentioned would normally be close to being sectioned by any remaining friends, but Widdicombe’s wry take on it all is endearing and agreeable, as if he is the voice in your day to day head. Taking parting shots at board games (Monopoly and Cluedo), “If they’ve got a bullet in their head I’m guessing it wasn’t a candlestick,” and “Why am I bankrupting myself in a hotel when I own the one next door?” Josh leaves the stage with people wanting more and with the knowledge that even the most mundane occurrences are as funny as hell.

Words: Simon Herriott