Watching James Campbell launch into his family friendly stand-up routine makes one wonder why there are not more stand-ups for children around. After all, children also have easily recognisable experiences that are shared throughout the age group, things that can appeal to their joint sense of humour. This is apparent in Campbell’s success. Though similar in feel to an adult stand up event (although with fewer rude hecklers), the observational comedy instead looks at scooters, video games and the names of primary classes at school.
He has a talent for engaging the crowd, managing to mock them without alienating them and using their remarks and comments to structure his set. He is an incredibly casual performer; it feels less like a performance and more like a highly amusing chat. He was offering to deal with phobias of people in the crowd when one boy said that he is afraid of moths causing Campbell to launch into an amusing digression about going to Australian and believing that the moths there were poisonous.
As is necessary for any children’s entertainer, Campbell is very sensitive to the different age groups who may attend his show. Aware that there is a great difference between the ages of five and ten years, he included material suitable for both and always asked about the ages of the audience members that he is talking to. A lot of his material does look at the behaviour of younger children which tactfully appeals to the older ones by allowing them to feel that little bit superior.
Campbell’s humour does sometimes verge on the bizarre: there’s a fantastical bit about child-eating lollipop ladies and he spent the first few minutes of his show asking audience members whether they are more afraid of giraffes or couscous. However, these flights of fancy are just the sort of thing that appeal to his demographic, as does his physicality which helps to keep the audience’s attention engaged. Overall, it makes for a highly enjoyable stand-up set from a very talented entertainer.