Tonight I was at the Nedd Ludd to see the well respected Dan Nightingale. The last time I was in this venue it had been the hottest day of the year and the room was absolutely sweltering. Fortunately the environment was more conducive to comedy tonight. As ever, the room filled up from the back, leaving a few empty chairs dotted towards the front. The audience needn’t have worried, as Nightingale isn’t a comic who insults people and they would have been perfectly fine.
I’ve seen Dan Nightingale before at a Funhouse gig, where he had given the room solid entertainment and the standout line about his Viking forebears not being in the first wave. So I knew that this would be a good show. Nightingale had his fiance and future inlaws present in the audience, which could put off some acts, but didn’t make any noticeable difference to him. He opened by promising us lots of stories, silly voices, some observations and one joke. All delivered as promised.
The audience was very appreciative of Nightingale and he hit the ground running; his first routine, Gay Chicken getting good laughs from a rolling series of reveals. This was then followed by sections on genealogy, age, homes, Sky, the gym, racism in jokes and then a big finish concerning dietry side effects – all with call backs. This material was all solid. There wasn’t a particular climax to the gym material, but this didn’t really matter. There was that much joy in the routine and the various asides and observations that I believe the entire room was just entranced with the whole story and a climactic ending wasn’t necessary. The deconstruction of the psychological aspect of telling a joke that may or may not be racist was very nicely done and despite sounding like an Open University dissertation was also very funny.
Nightingale is a remarkably skilled comedian. He has managed to garner good material and marry it to a really strong and flamboyant performance. He’s got real vocal talent and can change accent, tone and inflection rapidly. This adds real depth to his delivery and this really brings his material to life. When he camps it up he keeps it credible instead of dropping into caricature, which keeps the mirth rolling.
This was a splendiferous show and I look forwards to seeing more of Nightingale. He is one of those acts who should be better known amongst the general public than what he is.