Chris Martin: No. Not That One

Three years ago, at my first Fringe, I saw Chris Martin do a fifteen-minute free set in a basement room. I was young and naïve, I hadn't seen much comedy, and I enjoyed it very much. 'No, Not That One', three years later, is his first full set. I enjoyed very little about it, even including the earlier material which is, depressingly, still being used. One of Martin's themes is the loss of childhood innocence, and watching this set gave me the same feeling – like finding out that the favourite uncle who lived in Australia that you only ever heard on the phone was actually calling from a maximum-security prison. Part of the problem might be that the current comedy climate is completely saturated with bland, middle-class social observation, which at least means that Martin won't need this review to help with his TV career. In the spirit of observational comedy, here is a list of things I had never previously noticed about Chris Martin:1. Despite having the voice and demeanour of a privately-educated male in his mid-20s, he refers to his friends exclusively and repeatedly as 'mates' in a Cameronesque attempt to relate to the average Joe;2. The hilarious things he and his 'mates' do that he wants to tell you about include pretending to 'bum' each other; Martin has a knack for turning casual homophobia into vague attempts at generational critique;3. You know, like, when your parents are quite posh, like, they're mental aren't they? Like, his dad once came to the pub and drank some tequila. Good times.The one thing that Martin does do well is deploying call-backs – the set is well-anchored and structured around a few key gags, and like the rest of his shtick, relies on the humour of shared recognition. You'll probably find a lot of things familiar about Chris Martin's jokes, though perhaps not in the way he intended. It might be a little much to describe him as 'offensively inoffensive', but there are 2,600 shows at the Fringe and you could probably do a lot better.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

Hotly anticipated debut show from ‘charming and talented’ (Time Out) stand-up Chris Martin as seen on BBC3 and Channel4. No songs. No Gwyneth Paltrow. Just jokes. ‘F**king hilarious’ (Jack Whitehall). ‘Funny and original’ (