Review by Graham Finney
It’s two hours until Michael McIntyre performs the second of his two sold out shows at the First Direct Arena in Leeds and literally thousands of people are still pouring into the Arena from all corners of the city. Now people may criticise McIntyre for his brand of observational comedy but, looking around the Arena tonight, this place is absolutely rammed to the rafters as have been the rest of the dates on his Big World Tour.
As is the case with all support acts, Andrew Bird has the unenviable task of warming up the crowd admitting “I know you’re all sat there thinking how you wish I was Michael McIntyre. I’m the same… I wish I was Michael McIntyre too.” It’s a joke which immediately wins over the crowd making the next thirty minutes something of a breeze for the impressive Bird. Rattling out routines about being skint, relationships and his kids, Bird is the perfect appetizer for McIntyre and exits to the sound of another audience won over by his charms.
“But he just talks about stuff we all know…” whinge the critics of Michael McIntyre but that’s the beauty of what he does and why, night after night, tour after tour, comedy fans flock to see the comic in their thousands. Yes, he is just saying the things that, at one point in our lives, we’ve all thought but, for ninety minutes, he has this audience eating from the palm of his hand.
The core of his set is based around his family life, his relationship with his wife and kids and the mishaps they have along the way but, rather than just being a barrage of “my kids said this…” or “my wife did that…”, McIntyre peppers these tales with a mixture of his own personal frustrations (internet shopping, driving and so on) and hotel mishaps during his time away from home on tour. After ninety minutes you can’t deny that McIntyre has the mix bang on.
A few hours prior to the gig an estimated two billion people were sat around the world watching the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Unsurprisingly, it’s a subject which gives the comedian a wealth of hot off the press new material with which to kick off his set as he gives his own animated take on all things Royal Wedding.
Whether you love his brand of comedy or loathe it, an hour and a half spent with the “funny looking Chinese man” makes you realise that you are in the company of a man who is really is the master of his profession as he takes the most mundane of subjects spinning them into ninety minutes of top quality stand-up.