Sunday, 13 January 2008

Comedy Review: Chris Rock at Birmingham NIA, 12/1/2008

Chris Rock is a comedian I've become a fan of relatively recently. I was first taken by the short clips shown of him on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand Ups aired last year, immediately wanting to see a full show of his. I now own two DVDs of his shows and thoroughly enjoyed watching them both. I therefore jumped at the chance to see him live when I heard he was doing his first ever shows in the UK in 2008.

He didn't disappoint. I was laughing throughout the show, and my friend Holly (who came to the show with me) and I were sorely disappointed that we had to miss the final ten minutes or so in order that we not miss the last train home from Birmingham. Although the subjects of Rock's material occasionally covered well-trodden ground (e.g. George W. Bush being an idiot), his unique take on the subject matter made it feel incredibly fresh. His more up-to-the-minute stuff - with victims including Britney Spears, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - also came off a charm.

Charm, I would say, is Chris Rock's main appeal to me. He is a very funny man. He is also a very funny black man, and like many black comedians Rock's comedy regularly returns to the theme of what it's like to be black and the differences between black people and white people. He is also a very funny American, and therefore his jokes are often to do with American culture. Everything he makes reference to therefore doesn't necessarily strike a chord with me, being as I am a white English man. But, as I said before, it is Rock's charm and personality that makes him such a successful comedian. He is mainly funny because he comes across as both a very likeable and very intelligent person. Despite occasionally touching on some highly contentious topics, I very much doubt Chris Rock's show tonight would cause anyone genuine offence. For the whole time he is on stage, Chris Rock is in control and knows exactly what he's talking about.

Overall this was a fantastic show, with very good support from Mario Joyner at the start. To anyone who hasn't seen any Chris Rock stand-up, I strongly urge you to give it a go. Watch one of his shows and I defy you, even if you aren't rolling on the floor laughing, to not be at least charmed by his sharp wit and intelligence.


Mooey said...

Hey Dude,

I don't suppose you remember the name of the guy who was on before the Rock?


Anonymous said...

The warm-up guy was called Mario Joyner. He gets a brief mention at the end of this post. He was also pretty darn funny. I liked the stuff he did on mobile phone reception.