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Skippy Waltzes Into Wembley
Michael McIntyre Live 2009 (DVD)
Member Name: Hishyeness
Michael McIntyre Live 2009 (DVD)
Date: 18/01/10, updated on 18/01/10 (178 review reads)
Advantages: Energetically delivered and excellently observed humour
Disadvantages: Unexpectedly strong language and sexual content
Michael McIntyre is a phenomenon. It's not just that he has developed a very popular stand-up act based on a sharp wit and an infectious humour - his entire look and demeanour practically demand that you like him. In fact, his popularity these days seems to rival the late Queen Mother - you will rarely find someone who will publicly admit to not liking him, although I know a fair few people who, after a few drinks, are prepared to admit that they would like to give him a slap - but only just a little one.
His humour is keenly observational - he takes ordinary, everyday objects and situations and by the time he has finished with them, you find yourself nodding along in agreement while trying desperately not to piss yourself laughing. The delivery is energetic and enthusiastic, augmented cleverly by his talent for physical comedy.
His material is usually clean by stand-up standards - with the occasional bit of swearing and some sexually explicit material - but the latter is always tempered by the relatively mundane context in which it arises. His comedic timing is superb, often employing the tried and tested routine of tying his jokes back to previously delivered material at key moments in his act.
"Hello Wembley", released in November of last year, is his second full-length DVD and is a live (edited) recording of his "home" performance at Wembley Arena on his last live tour. Given his popularity, it is perhaps unsurprising that it is now the fastest selling stand-up DVD of all time, surpassing his own "Live & Laughing" release of 2008. It is currently available on Amazon for £7.98 (RRP £14.99) in DVD format. The DVD is rated a 15 - well deserved given some of the content.
The main feature is his stand-up performance, which is delivered without fancy gimmicks, gadgets or props - it's just McIntyre and his audience - and he holds your attention from the moment he skips onto the stage in his now trademark fashion, until he skips off it after a well-deserved encore.
In a packed hour and a half, he tackles everything from drinks cabinets, spice cupboards, shopping with his wife, wine tasting, and mobile phones to idiot drivers. The transition between one subject and the next is relatively seamless. There are a few "dead" spots, when you are left waiting for the next bit, thinking perhaps he has squeezed every last laugh out of the situation, but on the whole, the performance is a laugh a minute.
Along with the "concert", there is an additional section with the best bits from his Comedy Roadshow, which aired on the BBC last year. The Roadshow took in a number of cities across the UK (Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast and Edinburgh amongst others) and consisted of a five minute intro from McIntyre followed by a showcase of local comedy talent.
The DVD seamlessly strings together these short bits from his act. Each performance is localised and tailored to the audience and city he is in, which provides a good showcase for his talent as a mimic of accents and sharp eye for a comedic opportunity. His material is more successful in some cities than others, but it's a lot more hit than miss, and overall it's an excellent and welcome bonus to have on the DVD.
Having also seen his previous DVD, "Live & Laughing", I was left a bit disappointed. Some of that probably has to do with the "sophomore" effect - i.e. if you set expectations really high with your first effort, your subsequent stuff may not seem so good. However, in this release, there seems to be more gratuitous foul language than before, which doesn't really add anything to the material - and there is also more sexual content (a recurring blowjob gag amongst others) that may be a little unsavoury to more conservative viewers - especially those expecting more along the lines of his first DVD.
That slight negative aside, his everyman humour works very well because he recounts situations and tells stories that strike a chord. You can easily relate to it - for instance, his take on the Nintendo Wii, which had us in stitches, hit so close to home because it mirrored our own experiences.
He gently and somewhat benevolently mocks the absurdity of some human behaviour, especially things we do automatically without thinking about what we are doing - or indeed know why we are doing them. Good examples of this are the wonderful pieces he does on run of the mill stuff such as wine tasting in restaurants, trying on shoes, and getting a haircut.
If you haven't seen McIntyre before, I think his first DVD, "Live & Laughing" is probably the better of the two. That said, "Hello Wembley" is worth the money and is great entertainment. The extras on the DVD make it very good value for money. Recommended.
© Hishyeness 2010
Summary: Great for a laugh-fuelled night in.