Review: Mick Foley Live – Journal Tyne Theatre, Newcastle
Despite the fact Mick Foley’s much publicised jaunt around the United Kingdom was billed as a stand-up comedy show, it would be wrong of you to assume this was a laugh-a-minute performance from the former 3 time WWE champion. In fact, his debut comedy tour is arguably more An Audience with Mick Foley & Friends than a conventional comedy show.
Describing his set as ‘funny’ feels constraining and often inadequate. Above anything, Foley’s fashioned an enjoyable show of entertaining anecdotes about his wrestling years, occasionally punctuated with odd pieces of material. And with the inclusion of a brief question and answer session, and a meet and greet after the gig, this was a chance for wrestling fans to meet their idol.
As a result, of course, this after dinner style format will probably have a short shelf life. You only really need to meet your hero once, don’t you?
Don’t get me wrong, Foley has his moments. Some of his off-the-cuff remarks – about how he was 26 seats away from announcing a fantastic sell out tour, for example – are beyond his years as a comedian, and you really can’t fault his storytelling. As he points out in his interview with Giggle Beats, many of his wrestling skills are transferrable to the stage; though I’ve got to question the judgement of Foley ‘fighting’ three of his assistants halfway through a stand-up comedy set. Bizarre to say the least.
So, what if you don’t like wrestling? Well, this show probably isn’t for you. Tales of Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka’s substance abuse, or Vince McMahon’s missing testicles, for instance, get big laughs of recognition – but if you don’t know the background you can’t really offer a response.
As a stand-up comedian, Mick Foley does little for me. The moments when he delves into prepared material, like his strange Karate Kid sketch or the wordy deconstruction of the words ‘penis’ and ‘testicles’, are weak and he’s quick to move back into another wrestling story.
But you can’t deny that when you go and see Mick Foley – as a wrestler, comedian or public speaker – you’re absolutely sure to have a nice day.