Beginning the evening with a quip about Jimmy Savile and slowly progressing to bash both taxi drivers and his own children, who he deemed were at a stage of “teenage mental illness”, the veteran comedian Jack Dee performed to the Victor Meldrew within us all.
With his unique brand of utter misery and disdain for more or less everything, Dee lit up the Lyceum with wit and sheer tenacity to screw over every member of society.
Even his own family were not safe, as he declared that he is currently on tour to spend less time with them.
Dee’s career spans almost three decades, and encompasses stand up tours aplenty; 90s panel shows like the unforgettable Shooting Stars; and that bizarre appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, where he wore a lot of tweed and tried to escape. This, though, is his first stand up tour in nearly a decade, as he has been kept busy with the sitcom Lead Balloon, a kind of British Curb Your Enthusiasm. The sitcom, which he wrote and starred in, was as miserably funny as the rest of his work.
Dee’s intelligence is undeniable, and drew belly laughs from the whole audience, attacking processes as simple as doing the supermarket shop, without nudging into the contemporary offence comedy that so many do today.
Jimmy Carr, we’re talking about you.
His material managed to appeal to the loud stag-do not too far from us, as well as the younger members of the audience, who chuckled quietly on the front row with the sheer desperation in their eyes that could only be screaming, “please, God, don’t talk to me.”
It was the continuous anecdotes about his teenage children which provided the best response.
Parents’ and teenagers’ eyes alike lit up when he described the sneaky process with which his 17-year-old daughter asked for money: “Darling, how are you getting home tonight. Getting a taxi, yeah?”
“Oh I don’t know, it will be about 2am, I’ll have to walk… I guess…”
Audience interaction is always necessary in huge stand-up gigs, and with a vast and sold-out Lyceum theatre, this was thrown at a poor man called Dave who foolishly chose to go to the toilet in the middle of the first half.
The fact he hadn’t actually gone to the toilet, but instead accidentally broke through the fire exit, made the situation only more hilarious upon his return, when he slipped sheepishly back into his front row seat, bladder still presumably full.
After a long hiatus from stand-up, Dee has certainly not lost his ability. He easily cast down contemporary ‘offence comedy’, and Michael McIntyre’s lovable goof style, discovering a wonderful middle ground of self-deprivation and application of real-life hilarity.
He’s significantly funnier than both the pissed man in Spoons making ignorant jokes about the Asian owner of a corner shop, and your Grandad on Christmas Day, utterly miserable and on his fourth glass of sherry.