Jake Massey

Review: Paul Foot: Words – Newcastle Stand

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Tonight’s show at The Stand gets under way with the arrival of Paul Foot’s support act, ‘Mr. Paul Foot’, who – after being welcomed – suggests that the receptive nature of the audience may in fact render his role as warm-up defunct.

After a brief overview of the evening’s comic itinerary, Foot transports the audience to a Neighbourhood Watch Garden Party – a location at which he speculates one is likely to encounter a great deal of racists and homophobes.

He goes on to question the hypocrisy of homophobes, all the while idiosyncratically gyrating around the stage, citing the heterosexual community’s responsibility for ‘gay babies’.

Foot continues to whirl through material, old and new, pausing temporarily to inquire about murmuring at the back, which he concludes was most likely provoked by news about the national grid or Anthea Turner’s feet.

Yet, as Foot resumes his marque comedy, he is once again disrupted by the murmuring vicinity as ‘What you doin’?!’ is heckled towards the stage.

The comic’s response is nothing short of sublime. Almost as penance for the clearly unamused punter, Foot proceeds to provide a recap of the content covered to this point, warning the ill-informed guest that his introduction as the support act was in fact a joke.

He goes on to essentially provide a review of the night’s show so far, explaining that 99% of the audience are enjoying the show and are in attendance because they like alternative comedy.

Foot closes his remarkably lengthy and wonderful rebuttal by imploring the heckler to shut up or leave, much to the delight of the aforementioned 99%. In hindsight, the majority of the audience are no doubt grateful for her interruption because it proved to be one of the highlights of the night.

Foot opens ‘part two’ of the show with a detailed synopsis, designed to prevent anybody else having an upsetting surprise this evening.

This schedule begins with a rant on the subject of toast (which he advises will last approximately four and a half minutes and may involve him seeming a bit angry).

The rant that follows is principally straightforward observational comedy, however, Foot’s distinctive style, delivery and occasional mounting of audience members places his jesting a million miles from the run of the mill observational comedy with which many of us have become accustomed.

Of course, the majority of the entertainment comes from his unrivalled surrealism, and Foot is correct in conceding that the majority of the time the audience may not be aware of why exactly they are laughing, but laughing they are.

Be it his pointless comparison of bushes and brushes, his relentless and meaningless insults directed at audience members or his intentional overuse of clichés, Foot’s performance is astonishingly bemusing and amusing.

Date of live review: Tuesday 5 November 2013