Jon Richardson doesn’t like people or things. He wants to make that clear from the start. He’s also keen to put any rumours of his assumed rock ‘n’ roll celebrity lifestyle firmly to bed. He succeeds by letting the audience into his wonderful, internal neurosis labyrinth. He journeys us through his stresses and bug bears, the minutiae of everyday life from his every-fretting perspective. And we love it. We can relate. We relax in the company of a comedian who allows us all to admit, for a few hours, that internally we are a mess, thinly veiled by social norms.
He nervously prodded the Chester audience at first, then won us over by suggesting we were fazed by having a theatre at all, and didn’t know what to do with ourselves, after so long without one. He admirably threw in a wealth of Chester related jokes during the evening (presumably he’ll do the same for every city he visits during his 3 month tour). His favourite by far was to end mishaps and forgotten lines with things like, ‘first bad gig at Storyhouse.’ Many firsts for the venue indeed; first comedian to grace the theatre and first sold out show of the autumn season.
He subtly mocked the cat statue at Morrisons, Saltney (fair enough really), and had memorised some of the funnier aspects of the Twitter feeds of a few audience members – delightfully regurgitating them. I really admire a comedian who willingly throws themselves to the wolves, relying solely on natural wit and riposte to get through. He strikes me as the type who could build a whole show around audience participation (but it would be a shame to miss out on the old man gags).
It’s early on in the tour for Jon, who made a few stumbles with his words and forgot a line for a minute (shouting off-stage for help), so I think we can forgive him. Personally I found the errors humanising, and ultimately hilarious as he grappled to get back to the routine. He’s a very natural comedian who wields the unpredictable to his advantage, and keeps us onside throughout.
He asked the front row if snack prices at Storyhouse were expensive, after catching one woman with a snickers bar from home, and they roared that they were. But the tickets were very reasonable at £22, and you can pre-order drinks – swings and roundabouts.
Engaging, self-deprecating, and like the little brother you want so desperately to succeed, Jon was the perfect comedic choice for kicking off the funny at Storyhouse. He tried to reassure us that he was merely the warm up for Stewart Lee (appearing next month), but we were having none of it and he left the stage to loud applause.
Nicely done Old Man.
At the time of writing there were still tickets, albeit solo seats for Jon’s Liverpool show, 8th Dec. Check out all tour dates here.