DVD review: Jason Manford, First World Problems
Not many DVDs come with the provenance of First World Problems.
Having begun as a mammoth, 113-date tour in June 2013, it has been extended and extended into a behemoth of over 300 dates, with venues booked well into 2015. The numbers alone suggest that Jason Manford is doing something right.
Capturing Mancunian Manford’s performance before 2,000 plus punters at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre, intercity rivalry provided the obvious intro for Jason’s set and he took full advantage. It is all done with an easy charm, warmth and humour, and sets the tone for the rest of the show.
The audience, fellow comic John Bishop among them, laughed and settled back for a good night’s entertainment. And that’s exactly what they got.
There are nods to the show’s title along the way as Jason mines the minor frustrations of modern life for comic effect. His list includes call centres, overzealous fraud prevention measures and parenting: the audience provides a more eclectic list, unconstrained it has to be said by taste and decency – and all the funnier for it.
While content with targets close to home to provide the bulk of the laughs, the routine where Jason recounts his experience of entertaining the troops at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan is a particular highlight. Not only was it a noble endeavour on his part, way outside most people’s comfort zone, it also demonstrated that he can garner laughs from what is, by any measure, barren and unpromising comic territory.
As befits a long running show, First World Problems is tightly written and beautifully performed. So what if it’s not groundbreaking or even edgy? What Jason Manford has got right is he knows his audience and how to please them. That’ll do for me.
And the best part is he’s still the sort of bloke you’d happily talk to you in the pub, or in a queue, or invite round your house. Or you could just buy his DVD.
Jason Manford: First World Problems is out on DVD from Monday 17 November. Buy from Amazon for £10.