Cardiff St Davids Hall
Some of you readers may be old enough to remember a comedy
character from the 60's and 70's called Alf Garnett, who was played
by the actor Warren Mitchell in a TV series "Till Death Us Do Part".
Despite being a largely reactionary, mean-spirited, bigoted, Working
Class Tory, his character became a national icon and is still fondly
remembered by a certain age group even today. Opinion differed greatly
in whether the writers and performers were actually trying to show up
this type of character's prejudices, or just writing a comedy show that
would be popular with the vast majority of the viewers at the time.
Whilst times have changed greatly since then, it is interesting to see
that despite a plethora of government backed PC initiatives to brain-wash
the general public into having a homogenised view of the world, here
I am on a Thursday evening nearly 40 years later in a sold out St David's
Hall listening to another stereotyped character that is "The Pub
Landlord" a.k.a. Al Murray. Whilst he is nowhere near as extreme
as Alf Garnett, it has been highlighted in certain esteemed liberal
organs that the two characters bear more than a passing resemblance
to each other. However whilst I have no way of knowing what Al Murray's
motives are for bringing this creation to the masses, let me put in
on record that I neither care an iota nor am ashamed of having listened
to two hours of belting comedy.
The show is entirely built around the self effacing ramblings
of a stereotypical British pub landlord and his take on our nation's
place in the world today (or lack of). Anyone who has seen his TV show
will know that audience members in the front rows will get ridiculed
unmercifully, yet it was interesting to note that everybody took it
in good spirits, and I suppose the adage applies that if you're easily
offended don't go. Having said that he makes himself the butt of the
humour as much as anyone else.
It is difficult to review a comedy gig as there is no defined set list,
but he covered a myriad of topics including The 2012 Olympics ("Its
going to be a bit sh*t"), Louis Walsh, the Credit Crunch ("Where's
the f*cking money"), Why God is British, Petre Andre, How planes
fly (held up by God), The (Gordon) "Brown Years" and Broken
Britain etc etc. I will admit to being a bit biased in my eulogy of
his performance, as in his monologue on "Broken Britain" he
constantly spoke directly to my son (who I had taken along as an 18th
birthday present) about the fact that the youth of today had nothing
to look forward to. Finally, and as if to prove he was not necessarily
all that he appeared, his final discourse was on the merits of the world
living in harmony like the beer pumps on a bar. All different colours
of beer standing shoulder to shoulder, whether they be black, brown,
German, weak imported French lager or a Polish one that is much cheaper,
twice as strong, and does the job in half the time.
I can understand that he is not to everybody's taste, but given that
virtually all of his 52 date UK tour are already sold out, then there
are an awful lot of people who either (a) find him funny and/or (b)
agree -at least partially - with his observations. If I had to choose
between a night of right-on, politically correct, comedy of the Jo Brand/Ben
Elton school of humour, or an evening of traditional rude and bawdy
British comedy like tonight, I think you know where you'd find me!
"Please take your empty glasses back to the bar....."