James Harle

DVD review: Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

As someone who has been lucky enough to see Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show both live and on DVD now, I feel I’m a pretty good source for an accurate review of Simon Brodkin’s latest show. Live, it’s the closest I’ve ever come to leaving a performance in the interval – despite being the reviewer. The DVD, as it turns out, was a slightly different experience.

This time, there’s a bit more to enjoy. Lee Nelson is a repulsive character on stage, and a lot of the jokes – fitting in with that character – are pretty unpleasant. And I don’t mean purely in terms of the visceral subject matter, but the whole package: the puerile material, the lazy delivery and the appalling character. But that aside, Brodkin’s sense of timing is impressive, and there are glimmers of worthwhile comedy behind the act; often he moves slightly out of character to make a joke which is more challenging, more structured, and ultimately better – and that’s a genuine highlight.

But by and large, if you’re not deterred by the crude material, you’ll almost certainly be put off by the lazy gags. Nelson calling his fat friend Omelette fat is meant to be a punch-line in itself, much like when he calls an audience member a cunt. What’s not funny about just calling someone a cunt? That’s the view of tonight’s audience at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire because they lap it up…

So, what can I tell you? The staging’s impressive, as is the delivery, and there’s some very slick audience interaction. At one point, for example, the stand-up gives way to a game show-style segment, and the show ends with – spoiler alert – everybody in the audience dancing around.

But the DVD extras bring that quality back down to the norm, with a half-hour mockumentary about Lee Nelson and Omelette going to the Big Chill, which contains all the hilarity of a fat man pretending to be on drugs…

As long as there are comedians in the world willing to devote care and attention to their craft, I couldn’t recommend this DVD to you. If you buy it, you’ll be supporting a comic who’s not only peddling below-par gags to undemanding audiences, but someone who’s so obviously capable of better. Which makes Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show even more of a disappointment.