It’s the top of the show and on an otherwise empty stage, in front of a capacity crowd, a phone is ringing. Audience members soon start to cajole each other into answering it and eventually one brave soul steps up to lift the receiver. “Hello,” intones the voice of our unseen comedian as the audience goes silent, “you’ve just made a very big mistake.”
McQueen knows the rules of comedy and he enjoys burning them.
Luke McQueen apparently used to be in a double act with a comedian who has become very successful. This show (sort of) tells the story of how they met, how they parted and how bitter McQueen has become as a result. It’s a loose narrative and there are many digressions and silly games along the way.
“I’m just looking for someone,” he says about twenty minutes in, as his eyes scan the crowd. “Is Martin Walker from Broadway Baby in?” As I raise my hand my stomach starts churning. This isn’t what’s supposed to happen. It takes bottle to have a go at a reviewer to his face during a show, even one who works for an organ such as this one. But within the context of the show it is absolutely the right thing to do. McQueen knows the rules of comedy and he enjoys burning them.
This is a manic, playful, intelligent and unpredictable hour from an experienced stand-up comedian happy to take risks. His dynamism never lets up and so the room sparks with energy from start to finish. The more subversive he gets the more we respond. He deconstructs comedy like Stewart Lee with a rocket up his arse. Indeed, the more familiar you are with live comedy and its tropes, the more you’ll enjoy this terrific show.