A comedy reviewer's nightmare is an atypical gig. By that I mean one that either goes down so badly with the audience that you can't get a grip on the material for hearing the pin drop with a thud, or one that goes down so well that you find the material slipping away as the guffaws drown it out.
I'm staying on the fence about this guy simply because I didn't get a good enough earful of his proper material.
The night I went to see David Burke's Three Days Off Jesus was the latter. Stuck in the tiny room above the Caroline of Brunswick were Burke, a gaggle of tipsy Irish women, and some innocent bystanders (including me).
What followed was a riot of comedy that echoed through the upper room and down to the drinkers hunched over their pints in the pub below… but I'm not sure it was the show Burke imagined.
Burke, an easy-going teetotal Irishman now living in Scotland, likes to start his show by making a cup of tea; 'It's an ice-breaker.' The Irish crowd in tonight had had something much stronger than tea and had already started on the craic before he'd said a word.
Banter followed. Good banter. Excellent banter. I felt like I was in my own front room, only enjoying myself.
'Look, time's running away with me,' says Burke. 'I must start the bloody material soon.'
So he did. And it was sort of OK. He's an extremely likeable chap, and an able storyteller, even if the stories he tells are all a bit old hat – taking Communion as a kid and earning a bike, playing with his siblings and falling off said bike, how his childhood consisted of 'hitting things with sticks, all day, every day' – but a sneaking suspicion crept in at the sides. Even with an audience this receptive, some of his scripted jokes fell a bit flat. He seemed unaware that his game of linking actors in films had already been invented and had a name (Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon), and his favourite joke wasn't funny at all. And does he really think that all lesbians knit and bake cakes?
I'm staying on the fence about this guy simply because I didn't get a good enough earful of his proper material. That said, it was a bloody delightful and good-natured gig. Perhaps Burke should collect the Irish 'pantomime audience' and take them round to all his gigs to repeat the experience, although it'd cost this most affable of comedians a small fortune in booze.
Oh, and the Three Days Off Jesus bit? He was born three days before Christmas, that's all. I wanted to know more, but it wasn't forthcoming (or first, third or second… sorry… )