Tonight I was at The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham to see Alan Carr. He’s a comedian who I’ve seen on dvd and obviously on the telly, but never before actually live. The show was 45 minutes for the first half, a 20 minute interval and then a second half of 45 minutes. The title of the show is Yap, Yap, Yap. A nebulous and random title in some ways, as there was only one reference to it during the entire show.
Carr came on to a lot of love from the audience – a bit too much really. These were people who had come to see Carr, not because he is a comedian, but because he is Alan Carr. Throughout the night he received good responses to his work from a crowd that he would have been hard put to totally alienate. This can make a nice evening, but you can wonder how hard someone with such a following has to try to keep them happy.
I, personally, found his material to be weak. There were some nice touches, mostly around ad libs, where he did demonstrate some sharpness, but a lot of the routines were banal. There was no real sense of a thread running through the night, nor of him ever building up to anything. This was more a collection of anecdotes delivered to a friendly room than an actual comedy show. He had a lot of call backs and generally I like these, they really add to a night, but in this case they just seemed to highlight how weak his material was. There was nothing in his routine that really stands out as being a killer line, routine, high point or even that memorable. There will be few people at work on Monday, saying, ‘I saw that Alan Carr and he said this….’ It was all very congenial and was well received by his audience, but it considering how the show title had so little to do with the show, it could just as easily have been titled ‘An evening with….’
Carr’s delivery wasn’t bad, but seemed to rely more on persona, than anything else. How he was putting things across was funny just because it was Carr saying it. His physical actions and dancing about were nice and did add to his delivery, but this couldn’t help shift my feeling that his material was rather hollow and this was glossing over that. A case of style over substance.
After the intermission there was a 5 minute photo opportunity, which the fans loved, but which I felt summed up a lot of the night: great for the fans, but not offering much for the outsider. Everyone else laughed and had a good time, but I feel this is despite the weaknesses in material, rather than any strengths.