Everybody, it seems, has a view on comedian Jim Davidson. But no matter what you think of the man or his reputation, he’s here doing a show. And the show is a corker.
For an ‘old skool’ comedian this is a very modern approach to stand up comedy.
Davidson is a master joke teller. I’ve never heard comic timing so precise - he knows where the laughs are and he goes for it. I doubt that you’ll find a better straight comedian at this year’s Fringe. His delivery is sublime.
There are plenty of old jokes, wrapped around contemporary targets. There are light hearted stories about his life and family, with a raft of very funny anecdotes about his Glaswegian dad. There’s a very silly story about his best friend from Glasgow who happens to be a Sikh, and plenty of self-deprecating quips.
For the record, there wasn’t a homophobic or racist joke in the entire set. He does discuss race, but context is all and rallying against political correctness isn’t unusual in stand-up comedy. He even defends immigrants at one point. There are a couple of throwaway lines about women that may offend if taken at face value, but I’ve heard much, much worse in the name of irony. Mostly Davidson’s targets are members of the working class, which is how he describes himself. The largely working class audience lapped it up. My only criticism is that he didn’t take it further. Having established that he isn’t racist, I wanted to hear him to face up to his critics more. And how does Davidson feel about his old act now, Chalky and all?
Then we get to Davidson’s arrest as part of Operation Yewtree. In January 2013, as he was about to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house, Davidson was arrested, suspected of two cases of historic sex abuse against women. It wasn’t until nine months later that he was told that no further action would be taken. The comic scatters a few jokes around the story of this time, but for the most part it’s a straight telling of his “year from hell.” Davidson is not afraid of silence. For an ‘old skool’ comedian this is a very modern approach to stand up comedy.
Finally we hear tales from the Celebrity Big Brother house - which he entered a year late.There’s also some old fashioned filth that reinforces Davidson’s reputation as a blue comedian. His run-ins with Big Brother and his friendship with rapper Dappy are well mined for laughs.
Overall, No Further Action is a very satisfying hour of comedy. Which, quite frankly, is not what I expected.