Lee Nelson’s show begins with a tongue-in-cheek video montage of all his achievements: Lee Nelson has his own show, hosted Live at the Apollo and competed in Let’s Dance for Comic Relief. It’s a promising start from this character comedian, but it soon becomes apparent that the video is justification for why we are here and why we should like him. Unfortunately for Nelson, he really struggles to live up to his own hype tonight.
It is evident that Nelson is a good actor, especially when he introduces some of his ‘well funny’ people. He is a clever performer, not once swaying from his characterisations, but they really are just not that funny. Nelson’s representation of Jason Bent, shamed footballer, stirs a few laughs, but the rest of the show is made up of awkward portrayals of eccentric stereotypes.
There is a lot of audience participation expected in this show, but Nelson does not make anyone feel welcome on the stage, rather tries to horrifically ridicule them as much as he possibly can. Those eager front-rowers, who initially were rowdy volunteers, encouraging Nelson to pick on them, began to put their hands down quickly and crouch in to the background when they realised what fate was about to become of them. Sitting further back in the audience feels somewhat safer, as you can sit back and cringe as the rest of the show unfolds.
Nelson’s best performance comes across when he plays Lee Nelson himself, trademark cap and polo shirt present for the full comedic effect. It is a shame that he strays from this set up to introduce the others, and doesn’t fill his full hour with anecdotes from his fictional life.