Alistair Williams’ show, I’ve started so I’m Finished (Caves, Up the Stairs 2000) was something of a wild card. The title didn’t give anything away, so I thought I’d go along and have a look. There was a respectable sized queue outside the venue and the room filled very rapidly.
His topics were what one would expect to find in a top ten most mentioned subjects by comedians list. They included, problems with where he lives, living with dodgy house mates, budget airlines, past careers (including interviews for dead end jobs) and relationships with women. All of these subjects are fairly generic, but in fairness, though, in only one of these did he actually stray into hack material. This was about Easy Jet and it being extra for a pilot and oxygen, which was very surprising as the it was so out of kilter with the strength of the rest of his material. Despite the subject matter not being distinctive, Williams was still very funny and got a lot more out of these topics than one would have suspected and it made me very curious as to just how good he would be talking about less well travelled things. This really was a case of questionable themes, but good material. He had a good choice of words, with a lot of little lines that added value to his set, and standouts included Jurassic Park, overdose, his explanation of jobsworth and especially the phone call to the alleged possible supplier of drugs. This latter reveal was superbly delivered and resulted in a long laughter break. On the downside, Israel to win was foreseeable, but at home was an improved next line.
Williams greatest strength is his delivery. He reminds me of a young Russell Howard. He has a big disarming smile, he knows when to pause for the laugh and has a great pattern to his speech, where he subtly changes his tone as he builds towards the reveal. This was an act that created a lot of momentum and generated a lot of laughter. I was particularly impressed with his bucket speech, which is the best one I’ve heard so far this week. With more distinctive content Williams will achieve a lot more, but as it was he gave a room full of people, including me, a very good time and is obviously someone to watch for the future.