Tom Allen is afraid of death. Not because he is unsure of the afterlife or scared of a painful passing, but rather because at his deathbed, if he carries on as he is, he’s terrified he’ll have nothing but a few good tweets to his name. Yet despite his self-deprecating opening, his persona more than contradicts this. While setting himself up as a self-conscious man, not using his short time on Earth effectively, Allen proceeds to deliver a set of still self-deprecating, yet confident and assured stand-up.
Whether it’s true Allen is wasting his life between stand-up gigs may remain up for debate; whether he is a talented comedian or not certainly isn’t.
These kinds of contradictions appear throughout Allen’s set and to great comedic effect. At first he’s charming, dishing out free chocolate hobnobs, making sure every last audience member has one. Yet as the show goes on this charm disappears and Allen becomes cynical and bitter, whether it’s about internet dating, gay pride or the effect of WhatsApp on one’s garden. “I’m going to finish now… because I’m bored” he says, ending the show in sassy yet majestic style.
The way he presents his jokes are also done in a similar fashion. Just when you think he’s told a joke or finished an anecdote, he’ll take a long pause and deliver what is actually his final punchline. He builds his comedy up and then breaks it down, leaving his audience is hysterics.
There was however a disturbance during his set, with several audience members arguing amongst each other and attempting to hide it. Allen handled the situation reasonably well, entertaining the rest of the audience while the bickering continued and eventually finding his footing once the distraction had ended. Yet it’s clear that confrontation isn’t his forte.
Yet despite this awkward and uncomfortable encounter, it is Allen’s energy and stage presence that ends up dominating the show. Whether it’s true Allen is wasting his life between stand-up gigs may remain up for debate; whether he is a talented comedian or not certainly isn’t.