Preview: Dom Joly, White Rock Theatre, July 20, 8pm.
ACCORDING to his Wikipedia page, Dom Joly is, among other things, a comedian. Just one who has never - until now - tried his hand at stand-up.
Best known for his at-the-time-quite-funny Trigger Happy TV show, the Beirut-born chubster has clung doggedly to the cliff edge of fame thanks to a host of television appearances, including a stint on I’m a celebrity get me out of here during which he ate health-witch Gillian McKeith’s pants. On air. Has there ever been a more perfect metaphor for the lengths some people will got to in order to achieve enough notoriety to stay in the public’s consciousness for more than their Warhol-prescribed 15 minutes? This observer says no.
But that is not to say a show based around Joly’s escapades is an entirely unattractive prospect.
While his current tour has received a mixed-back of reviews (one journalist described it as “an underpowered, and quite frankly dull, trawl through a professional CV that you’d have to be a pretty dedicated Joly-watcher to be au fait with.”) the material is clearly there. As is often the case with one-man shows, the difficulty comes in releasing its potential.
The bumf sent out with the tour press pack promises that Joly will talk audiences through ‘the perils of travelling the world’ and he has a wealth of anecdotes to regale.
Be it skiing down volcanoes, flying across the Grand Canyon strapped to an eight foot rocket or being arrested while dressed as a yeti, Joly’s jaunts clearly have a wealth of comedic potential.
A travel series filmed for Sky back in 2007 in which Joly toured the world trying various
local beers and spirits was well received by criticis and audiences alike- and hailed a breath of fresh air compared to the more tired traditional formats. During filming he drank with hillbillies, had his hair cut by a naked woman and chased crocodiles in Australia.
With that sort of background it would be hard NOT to make a success of his current mammoth tour.
But the worry is that, in inexperienced stand-up hands, the material could fall flat. Anyone who reads the I newspapers Cooper Brown column, rumoured to be the work of Joly, will share similar concerns. Which is a shame, because for £20.50 audiences will be wanting the ‘laugh out loud’ show it is advertised as being.
Joly may also find the crowd here in Hastings not as welcoming as revellers elsewhere. He used his Twitter account to poke fun at the fire on Hastings Pier and, as any local will tell you, Hastings isn’t great at forgetting grudges.
Anyone wanting to see a gag-a-second gig in the mould of recent show-stealer Tim Vine will be disappointed. But fans of Joly are likely to be treated to an insightful and irreverent evening out.
Tickets are available now from the venue’s box office.