Live Event: John Robertson
This is quite possibly the strangest review I’ve written to date. I’m a bit drunk, eating a bowl of chilli and sat wearing a t-shirt that says, “you awake to find yourself in a dark room”. Yes folks, I’ve spent an evening in the company of stand up comedy John Robertson.
Let me give you a bit of background before I tell you about my evening. I became aware of John through the excellent Videogame Nation on Challenge TV which is shown at 10am on Saturday morning. What I like about the show is that it doesn’t patronise the audience and has a number of hosts including well respected videogame journalists.
The catchphrase, “high def high five” will be familiar with fans of the show and in particular fans of John who is a regular contributor.
I’d heard that he also did stand up comedy so when I saw that his show was coming to Wolverhampton, I jumped at the chance to see him live. The story of the venue is worth telling so please bear with me. With the venue being called The Speakeasy Comedy Club I was expecting a venue befitting a television star. A venue that although not the stature of Wolverhampton Wanderers football ground, the Civic Hall or possibly even a local pub, a sizeable venue for someone who appears on TV.
When I received the booking confirmation email, I did a double take. I looked at the email and it had a residential street as the venue. I drove past the address ahead of time and said to my wife, “this can’t be right, it’s a normal house in a normal street.” Surely there must be some mistake, this man is a television personality for pities sake!
We arrived at the house not sure what to expect and yes the venue was in someones kitchen. How amazing is that! Admittedly is was a pretty big kitchen but a kitchen nonetheless. Johns’ website promised an intimate setting and that is exactly what we got. We arrived and immediately saw John walking around the house. I had to stop myself from shouting, “you’re on the TV, you’re famous, oh my god I’m in the same room as you!“
I then started chatting to Rich who lived in the house and who began to tell me that he’d known John for a while and had been around the stand up comedy circuit himself for some time. This was the 3rd event they had held at their home. There was a bar and drinks available for a couple of quid, so we grabbed a couple of ciders and sat down next to the cooker. What had started as one of the strangest nights of my life gradually turned into one of the best nights of my life.
The first part of the night began with the, “Lets Redecorate” show. Like all the best comedy this was funny, often hilarious, topical, edgy and tainted with a sense of sadness. It was truly brilliant! The best way to describe Johns’ style is wide eyed, manic and yet strangely playful. The biggest compliment I can pay him is that he reminded me a lot of Rik Mayall. His booming voice really carries authority especially when he’s telling jokes about spunk in the eye.
There was a short break and then it was time for the, “Dark Room” routine. I’d read that this was an interactive videogame text adventure but nothing could prepare me for what was to come. John came out wearing shoulder tackle that would give the Legion of Doom nightmares and what proceeded was a work of genius!
This part of the show was based around the text adventure games of the 80s. John would ask for a volunteer or select a member of the audience to pick from multiple choices that appeared on the screen. Depending on your choice he would comment and often berate (but in a nice way) which choice you had made. There was a promise of £1000 if you managed to get to the end of the adventure without dying. As you can imagine nobody actually won the game but there were “prizes” for the participants. I shall treasure my hardback book titled Great Mysteries: Mysterious Happenings as I’m sure one of the other participants will treasure Get Fit with Mel B on the PS3. It really was fantastic and combined comedy and videogames in a way that I had never seen before.
This show was hilarious and I can say in all honesty that my sides were hurting at the end of the night. I would urge anyone to check out both of Johns’ routines if they have the chance as they are absolutely incredible. He brings a high energy, engaging and hilarious performance which demands to be seen.
Visit www.thejohnrobertson.com for more information including tour dates.
Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With and The Same Coin)