James and Craig - the comedy duo behind Best Days of Our Lives - earn their stars as much through likeability as humour. The show only very loosely sticks to its professed theme of schooldays; Best Days of Our Lives feels more like a showcase for some assorted funny ideas than anything more unified. However, I didn’t begrudge James and Craig for straying from the classroom, nor the occasional dips in the standard of their comedy. The congenial pair was amusing and friendly; they made us laugh in the way that a couple of friends in a pub might. Given the bar in the corner, the free entry, and the scarcity of audience members, this was entirely fitting.
The structure of their set was clunky: we had a bit of stand-up from James, a bit from Craig and then a few sketches from the pair. James’ anecdotes about his recently shaved beard were gently amusing, though my heart sank when this moved on to the inevitable, ‘I’ve never been good at chatting up girls’ schtick. Well-advisedly straying a bit more from the path, Craig’s Kafkaesque narrative about the time he woke up as a moth was enjoyable. Particularly in Craig’s case, the school gags - mainly detailing his career in The Wiggly Worm Gang - were wormed in slightly awkwardly. However, this didn’t matter, as enough of an audience/performer rapport had been established early on to put everyone in a forgiving mood.
They sustained the atmosphere during the sketches, too. A doctor/patient sketch mocking our mania for diagnosis was funny, as was the scenario about a liberal father’s reaction to his son’s coming out as straight. While the series of David Attenborough skits were a bit of a flop, James’ impression of a sobbing man seeking to buy a cuddle from a man selling puddles was simply adorable.
It won’t blow your mind, but if you have an hour gap at five past one in the afternoon, I see no reason not to fill it with Best Days of Our Lives.