Review: Tom Stade You’re Welcome

[First published on Quays News 30/01/16] Youre-Welcome-Poster-Jpeg

ROCK star comedian Tom Stade hit the Lowry’s Quays Theatre last night with his new show ‘You’re Welcome’.

The intimate room was the venue for the second night of Tom Stade’s new tour, which, for a comedian that’s appeared on the likes of ‘Live at the Apollo’ and ‘Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’, is a relatively tiny room. Small theatres do give audience members a greater sense of inclusion in a show, and, with Stade’s constant chatting to the front row, this was certainly the case.

Support act Gareth Waugh graced the stage first however. Stade’s recognisable voice over to welcome the Scottish comedian gets the laughter roaring to banish any nervous wait before the first joke lands. A stark contrast to Stade, Waugh’s feeble persona tells self-deprecating anecdotes, fitting into the mould of young male comics that laugh at their failure to be the stereotypical man. His stories are told excellently with the help of his physical performance, ending in some crude but funny mimes. Clever punchlines are scattered throughout, maintaining the laughter before finishing strong. The young Scotsman is definitely one to watch.

The interval passes and, with confidence in abundance, Stade strides onto the stage. In the front row was a gentleman who would be gold dust to any comedian, and Stade spotted him immediately, commenting on his likeness to Einstein to great laughter and applause. A photography teacher from Birkenhead, Albert, as Stade referred to him as, became a regular feature throughout the night.

The start of the show is side splitting. He tells the audience where he’s from, preposterously exaggerating how primitive the Canadian town is in which he grew up. His anecdote about playing Glastonbury last year is a routine that received constant hearty laughter, as he builds up vivid but ludicrous imagery of a hot tub featuring himself and last year’s big names. It’s this silly imagery and ability to take a simple idea and run with it in which Stade excels.

As a Canadian he makes observations on how living in Britain has changed himself, as well as elaborating on the differences between the two countries. British TV is the butt of many jokes as he asks the simple question of why people would go on Cash in the Attic, which he then recites a silly back story. His delivery of the material on the face of it seems like a drunken ramble – repeating, shouting and elongating words with a large dose of expletives for good measure. But it’s this performance, consisting of expert timing, which sets him apart from other comics, matching the style of his material to create silly and original comedy.

Part way through his set, interesting but sensitive material is discussed. Stade refers to the phrase ‘no means no’, but subverts the usual connotations by joking about scenarios in which men say this. The idea is a deep discussion point, but with Stade’s comedic style it comes across as clumsy instead of clever or enlightening, which the routine has the potential to be. He alienates some of the audience which leads to a brief lull in laughter before getting them back onside.

Immigration is next on Stade’s agenda, again a topic which could cause offence, but his silliness blasts away any reservations the audience have at laughing at such a controversial issue. He talks about himself, how he was called an immigrant by a character in his previous anecdote, and how this offended him. Again great imagery is used as he truthfully explains how Britain is a country of immigrants thanks to its colourful history, the language he uses, even more colourful.

Stade really ekes out every possible laugh from a subject before seamlessly moving on to the next. Gaps in the laughter are rare despite his slow delivery as, rather than building up to a punchline, he provides funnies throughout. Heckles were mostly ignored and shouted over, but his improvisation skills weren’t lacking when talking to Albert and others in the front row.

Comedians are always seeking approval from their audience. Stade, however, seems to already know that he’s funny, allowing him to free himself up to be as silly as he wants, providing great entertainment for his audience.

4

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