In the opening moments of his show Michael Legge declares the microphone “totally superfluous.” And he's right; Legge's virulent yelling is anything but hard to hear. Thankfully, his venom is undercut with the frequent reminder that he is almost always the one that's in the wrong.
The Northern-Irish stand-up has been the host of the Big Show and The Classic Late & Live at this year's festival, but seeing him perform for a full hour allows him to be both more vicious and more likeable. When he criticises comedians who claim to be the star of some TV show they barely appeared in, he admits that he would do the same if given the opportunity. His whole act is like this: a balance of angry superiority and loveable embarrassment.
He sometimes fires his content directly at audience members, stepping off the small Classic Studio stage and yelling at random audience members who take on the role of whoever Legge happens to be railing against. If a joke ever gets a smaller laugh than Legge expects it too, then he aligns himself with the audience. He uses his bitter stage persona to make their lack of laughter seem like an affirmation of the Michael Legge approach to life.
Despite the volume and ferocity of Legge's performance, the show actually feels pretty casual. We start late, and the room is not sold out, a point Legge draws a lot of comedy out of in the opening moments of his show, and perhaps as a result of all that ad-libbed material he cuts some of his material as he goes.
In the end we only get through about half the stuff we were meant to, and Legge offers to tell a particularly good story to anybody that chooses to stick around for a pint. This attitude leaves the audience feeling as though they haven't missed out on anything. As Legge says, “Stewart Lee just says ‘Fuck ya' and walks off if he runs out of time. I'm trying to keep in touch!”