Edinburgh Fringe review: Carl Hutchinson, Here’s Me Show
Carl Hutchinson doesn’t tend to get on well with people, a trait he’s exploited in the past to good comic effect. Last year’s show All The Rage detailed his various run ins with members of the public, including those evil people who insist on fully reclining their airline seats.
As a basis for a show it was a decent one, but unfortunately this year’s show is much of the same. Obviously you don’t just stop being annoyed by people, but Here’s Me Show feels like the leftovers of last year’s act.
Hutchinson even references previous jokes in his new show, which makes you think he really couldn’t come up with much new material for the 2014 run. That’s not to say that Here’s Me Show isn’t funny, but it does feel a bit forced at times. His new accounts of being annoyed with people include an entertaining section where he details a row with a restaurant owner and an amusing riff about a boy he went to primary school with.
His gags are solid, but his real skill is the way he engages with the audience to draw more laughs out of the jokes than they would have generated on their own. He chats away to people, uses callbacks to good effect and deals with quite a few interruptions from the more merry members of the crowd without missing a beat. He also pauses to make fun of his ludicrous sweat patches (he’s clearly working hard), which gets us all on side early on.
A lot of his anecdotal stand-up is very relatable – particularly the bit about peeing in a pint glass (men, we know you’ve all done it at least once) – but other bits fall a bit flat. About ten minutes of the show describes a trip to the gym, the various people he meets there (including an elderly man) and ends with a long account of him telling someone how he chipped his tooth. It’s funnier than it sounds; he polishes this story with some good comic timing and typical, affable charm, but on the whole it’s not the best material.
It’s clear that Hutchinson has a lot of skill and talent; he just seems to be struggling to find a strong theme for his show that doesn’t repeat last year’s subject matter. If he moves away from his ‘rage guy’ persona – or alternatively tries to find some new things to be really, really cross about – he’ll almost certainly start to pull in bigger crowds.
As it stands, he’s a likeable bloke who engages well with the audience and you certainly don’t feel short changed by his show: it’s just there are more accomplished hours of comedy out there.
Date of live review: 10 August 2014 @ Pleasance Bunker One