Chris Stokes – The Man Delusion

Six and a half stone of vegan fury. That’s how Chris Stokes sums himself up in a few words. In fact, Stokes’ onstage manner is anything but furious, and he doesn’t even weight six and a half stone (he admits he’s really ten, although that’s still pathetic apparently). He is personable and relaxed as he presents a new hour of stand-up that is not raucously funny but is thoroughly enjoyable.

By the end of the hour you will be harbouring a secret desire to become friends with Stokes so that you can continue the chat.

In this set we hear about Stokes’ adventures in the world of internet dating, his recent sojourn as a van driver and his conversations with Nigel Farage about potatoes. Some serious political undertones are offset with the amusingly self-deprecating humour of a ‘leftist spice freak’ and ‘insufferable middle-class vegan’, although transitions between topics can feel a little clunky and forced. He explores man’s arrogant delusions of grandeur, mocking how we view ourselves as top of a food chain from which we have really just removed ourselves. Given that this is the show’s titular element, it would have been interesting to see this idea woven further into other parts of the set.

The laughs do not come thick and fast but, watching Stokes, it’s surprising how little that starts to matter. He is warm and likeable, engaging the audience with gentle interaction and eventually discarding the unnecessary microphone so that his set comes to feel like an intimate chat with friends over a glass of wine. Ad libbing is not his strong point and audience responses occasionally throw him a little off-balance, but there are some fantastically bizarre moments in the show that see his set shift from naturalistic storytelling to uber-surrealism in a couple of words, leaving the audience scrambling to catch up.

This is not a show that will make you roar with laughter but it will make you think and smile. It is a show that, like its performer, grows into itself so that by the end of the hour you will be harbouring a secret desire to become friends with Stokes so that you can continue the chat. 

Reviews by Iona Gaskell

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The Blurb

Chris Stokes? Yes. Comedian? Absolutely. Award-winning? You betcha. Man…? Can you be more specific? Ostensibly a human, Chris returns to the Fringe with a new show about you. Well, the species that you have in common with him. 'Excellent' **** (Daily Mirror). 'It takes some flair to mix script, tangents, conversation, heartbreak and make it all look so effortless' **** (Skinny). 'Very gifted' **** (List). 'Very funny, well-crafted stand-up' **** ( 'One impressive comic' (New Statesman). 'Genuine, uncontrived epiphanies as well as laughs' (