The laws of stand up hold that childhood diaries are always good for a laugh. The whole 'wasn’t I a daft little so-and-so' shtick provides the impetus for Alex Smith’s attempts to come to terms with not being a ‘real man’. It’s a light-hearted hour, and Smith is not with his charm, but it feels stretched at times, with his material not quite enough to cover the full sixty minutes.
Smith has a lot of things going for him – confidence, charisma, and a good singing voice among them.
He pads the show out with songs, mostly those he wrote as an adolescent. Cue some comic-horrible love songs and faux-profound ballads. Smith has no problem taking the piss out of his younger self and plays up how much of pretentious twat he once was; at times, he seems almost perversely proud it. It’s not very clear how this links into the idea of manliness however, and some of his observations about middle-class life, decent bits in and of themselves, seem a bit shoe-horned in.
Smith has a lot of things going for him – confidence, charisma, and a good singing voice among them. On the evidence of Real Man though, it seems that joke writing isn’t near the top of that list. At the same time, you could do a lot worse than spend an hour in his company.