Lets start this by explaining just how excited I was to see Daniel Kitson at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. It was in my diary as “KITSON!” – birthdays get ‘mum’s birthday’, parties get ‘party?’ but for the best comedian in the world, I went all out with capitals and an explanation mark.
The show, as you would expect, was wonderful. Such a brilliant range of thoughts coupled with perfectly marauding sentences and a beautiful use of language. This was all backed up with smut…lots of smut.
It had been an enjoyable evening for my friends and I which was a bit of a relief. My girlfriend had been ill since the Mach Comedy fest after a badly judged twenty minutes sat in a tent. Book a B&B for Mach 2014, friends.
The ever consummate gentleman, I had packed a bottle of water which I discreetly offered to her during the 1hr40 minute performance. The words of her doctor ringing in my ears “keep hydrated, for the love of God, keep hydrated”
On leaving the theatre I noticed the couple behind me muttering about people talking near by. I hadn’t noticed anything and thought nothing more of it until I got home and did a quick search for #kitson on Twitter – the man himself searches for himself and I wanted to as well. I enjoy seeing people’s immediate reactions to such great performances.
As expected there were the usual lovely comments and then I stumbled across one from a familiar looking face. It was the girl from behind and she was moaning about the ‘idiots’ in front. Threatening a ‘campaign against people talking in performances’.
From a further perusal of her Twitter feed this individual reviews things for a couple of blogs. We at Funny Looking will never be reviewers. We want to celebrate and enthuse not write a ‘review’ that more often than not ruins punchlines. Nor do we take ourselves so seriously.
It didn’t detract from the point that I had impacted negatively on someone’s evening. I hate people talking at gigs – I’ve politely asked people in the past to quiet down a bit or move to the back. However the nitpicking of this evening was on a new level. Friends sat next to us had not even noticed us reach for a drink or give our smug knowing nods at lines we recognised from a warm up gig we had bagged tickets for months previously. Still it made me think, “Am I a dickhead?”
It spun me into something of an existential crisis. Am I a bad audience member? Well I’ve asked this question so I can’t be but isn’t that what a bad audience member would say?! The fact it paralleled an argument Kitson had made thirty minutes earlier made me realise just how far in advance he must plan his shows. He really is out to make you laugh and think in ways that no other comedian can. There is something for everyone (especially if you are a nervous, cardigan wearing liberal with an ill girlfriend)
I wasn’t going to take this slur on my character! I spun careful 140 character long rebukes subtly explaining how I clearly had learnt more from the show than she ever would but I was never happy enough to hit the send button.
In the end I took the route Kitson advised in his show. I read her Twitter feed, found something that I vehemently disagreed with, concluded SHE was the dickhead and went to bed.
One half of Funny Looking, Peter Jones had donated his fee for this column to the Campaign To Stop People Talking During Performances.