John-Paul Stephenson

Review: Gary Delaney: Purist – Newcastle Stand

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With appearances on Mock the Week and One Night Stand now under his belt, the X-rated Tim Vine, Gary Delaney is touring his 2010 Fringe show now, he admits, that people are likely to turn up. A wise move, since The Stand was pretty much full tonight.

Following an impressive support from Steve Day, who explores prejudice and the consequences of Boris Johnson’s obsession with stealing the limelight, Delaney warns any unsuspecting audience members that they may be in for a bumpy ride. The warning is necessarily unequivocal. As Delaney’s profile rises, he is destined to become the focus of an “outraged audience member” story; he had a taste of this last year when a joke about tax avoidance (oh, and Nazis) on Mock the Week supposedly annoyed most of Jersey. Jimmy Carr might appreciate the respite from the attention.

Delaney delivers the one-liners in themed sections. Lines which had enjoyed outings on TV were joined by a range of fresh jokes and material unsuitable for broadcast. Let’s just say that tonight’s crowd were united in their hatred of Jim Davidson. Think of a taboo, and add another layer.

Some visual gags are presented on a screen to break the monotony. One section demonstrates his vandalism of Wikipedia. I’m not entirely convinced of the ethics of imposing dubious taste jokes upon an external audience. The “bad taste” genre of comedy might be condoned within a comedy venue in which audiences are complicit in their attendance, but is not necessarily appropriate for an external ‘audience’ that has not given informed consent. In other words, I’d probably leave the Wikipedia mischief to bored school kids.

Although the gags-per-minute count is, as expected, high, Purist doesn’t seem quite as efficient as the incarnation I saw in 2010 in a small, hot room in the Pleasance. A longer-than-necessary interval possibly did not help, leading to some overt cutting in the final stages of the show. Also, his penchant for saying ‘that was fun’ after each section becomes marginally annoying.

Gary Delaney’s profile is clearly on the rise. His jokes are in appalling bad taste, and guaranteed to offend someone. Fantastic.

Date of live review: Tuesday 7 May 2013.