The entrance of Patrick Monahan is an explosive one; the comedian subverts self-introduction by making sure everyone is comfortable with his touchy-feely comedy. When the suited Monahan erupts into the space, no one is safe; everyone at least receives a hand shake and at most is crowd surfed on. This introduction promised a night of engaging, fast paced and huggable comedy. Unfortunately, that is not what the set delivers. Despite some pretentions of difference, the humour remains rooted in well charted territory.
The main areas touched upon are all too familiar: love, the older generation vs. those dang kids with their newfangled technology and drug use, hackneyed remarks about Glasgow and the culture clash of growing up the son of an Irish Catholic and an Iranian. While certainly possible to eek out new material from these over-covered areas, Monahan remains ardently on the beaten path. Yes, everyone is single and girls are picky, kids do less nowadays, Glasgow is filled with drugs and chavs, and growing up in a multi-racial family provides amusing anecdotes about tradition; all of these have been covered ad infinitum in almost exactly the same way. It is difficult to see a comedian with so much energy trying so hard with such recognisable material, particularly one that begins his set by sprawling over his audience. Even worse, Monahan often does not understand when to end a joke, continuing to ramble on a subject long after his audience loses interest.
Despite the nature of the material, Monahan saves his set with some excellent interaction. The comedian addresses his material directly to certain audience members, keeping the tone light and interesting. It is not every comic who could converse with a man born in the 1920’s and make it not only funny but absolutely hilarious, or turn a bathroom retreat into an entire five minute segment. This interaction compounded brilliantly at the show’s conclusion, which had Monahan spooning a 90 year old man and a 20 year old copper.
Despite this saving grace, the lack of original material damages the set without hope for repair. Monahan is no doubt a comic with potential, but without an original take on the stand-up classics to go alongside his masterful audience work he’s left a little dead in the water.