I always think Welsh comedian Rob Brydon is basically a decent human being; his comedy isn’t deliberately rude, vile or derogatory and he comes across as a balanced individual. Brydon has more of a gentle observational humour style with the occasional caustic barb. The appearance in that wonderfully observational TV comedy Gavin and Stacey as Uncle Bryn is typical of the Brydon style; hardly cutting edge but sharp and observational nevertheless. Radio 2 and the comedy game show format was made for Rob Brydon; alas he isn’t around for the era of TV’s Blankety Blank; I’m sure one corner of the board would have been permanently reserved for him.
Recently I caught Rob Brydon live at Huddersfield Town Hall. The show was a fairly standard comedy format with Brydon meeting a few people in the audience and then returning to them with comments as the evening drew on. This time he focussed on a young 17 year old there with his parents. After provoking a bit of fun about the lad being with his “mum”, perhaps deliberately Brydon contrived it so the lad described his father as “Dave” giving rise to Brydon weaving a story throughout the evening where the lad has an uneasy relationship with his “step-dad”. Obviously Brydon’s skill was in making the story come easy, and creating an air of realistic conflict and intrigue within the family unit. It’s probably quite easy to Brydon, but even my writing the description of the scene is proving tricky for me.
In between the returns to the family in the audience and also to a couple of other people there, Brydon offered a set of observational humour some of which worked better than others. The concept that older people fart more is not a new one and for me this routine felt tired, very tired. Brydon also relied on his genius of impression and I enjoyed his observations of meeting Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney much better. The tales of Brydon hobnobbing it with rock and roll and comedy Royalty both pandered to our obsession of the personality and for our gaining snippets of information about off-screen personalities.
Not as successful was Brydon’s tale impersonating the entire participants of a fictional series of “I’m a Jungle…” of course focussing on those personalities where Brydon can give a reasonable impression; no matter that Roger Moore has never been in the jungle, let alone is no longer on this earth. It just felt a little clunky and over-long to me.
To draw the set to a close Brydon brought out his guitar and also did a questions and answers spot. While these activities led me to conclude that his 90 minute set was just a little short of material, one of the questions asked by the audience offered a sweet moment where Brydon spoke of his fondness for Ronnie Corbett and the personal friendship they had built up. This was warm and genuine.
Overall, Rob Brydon live left us with warm fuzzies as it was ultimately a “nice” show. Even leaving the Huddersfield venue made me smirk as the people behind as we were going were saying that Rob Brydon’s singing proved “all” Welsh people could “really sing” – as a Welsh born wannabe Goth/Punk singer from the 1980s I could disprove that particular fable with a bit of caterwauling of my own.
While I didn’t think the Rob Brydon live experience was the best comedy show I’ve ever seen (Rhod Gilbert is the man for that in my eyes), if you like Rob Brydon on TV I’d certainly recommend you go and see him live as there was much to enjoy and smile with here.
Photo from Wikipedia by EG Focus, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10903238
To get more details about what Rob Brydon is up to visit his Rob Brydon Website