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Some greater variety in the comic’s material would have allowed references to Marsden’s sexual exploits to earn their place.
The show’s compère Michael Legge got the ball rolling nicely. The Northern Irish comedian fed off the crowd’s energy to swell the stage with raucous applause for the first act. And of the three, Andrew Ryan was by far the strongest. His accent, incidentally, was also the thickest. Though perhaps not so incidental: Ryan gave us exactly what we wanted, the paragon of a Mary-mother-of-God-cursing, Mammy-loving Irishman. A stereotype, but one that was swallowed hook line and sinker.
Next on the line-up with Ricky Marsden, who gave off just a tad too much self-loathing to be sympathetic, and whose material didn’t stray far from sex. Though his risque humour was at first refreshingly frank, Marsden’s repeated return to sexual innuendo (more often explicitness) began to feel slightly unpleasant. Some greater variety in the comic’s material would have allowed references to Marsden’s sexual exploits to earn their place. As it was, he seemed a bit of a one-trick pony.
The final act, whose name I didn’t catch due to the compère’s attempts to speak over an applauding audience, failed to impress. Despite seeming the most experienced of the three, the comic relied on boyish humour (in fact, he repeatedly and incongruously referred to himself as a ‘boy’, which threw me somewhat). Often this descended to plain bigotry, first disabled prejudice (in his references to Oscar Pistorius being able to ride a bike), then misogyny (he joked about how he’d ‘never trusted women’ since a seven-year-old stole his Dolly Mixture). It seems unfair to shoot a comic down over prejudice for something they’ve joked about; after all, they might well claim that the joke was directed at, rather than borne out of prejudicial beliefs. However, as the final act himself said of joking about Paralympians: ‘Maybe you can, maybe you can’t’. In this case, it would have been best for him to err on the side of caution.