Review: Tim Vine – ‘Tim Timinee Tim Timinee Tim Tim To You’

[First published on Quays News 03/10/15]

TIM VINE brought his unique brand of silly comedy to Bradford St Georges Hall last night with his new show Tim Timinee Tim Timinee Tim Tim To You.

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The entrance for a comedian is vital. They need to look confident, composed, yet energetic. Vine certainly nailed the final one, popping out of a chimney positioned on the stage dancing hilariously to his own song. He is known for his comedic songs as well as his quick puns, but in this show he displayed his talent for physical comedy as the small, charming theatre was suddenly host to a display of ridiculous dance moves that had the entire audience in stitches.

Jeremy Vine, Tim’s brother and current contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, should certainly be asking for advice. After his opening foray there wasn’t any time for rest as the self proclaimed Punslinger ploughed into a series of chimney jokes, somehow squeezing numerous puns out of this one mundane object.

His delivery, as expected, was exceptional. It was quick and precise with exquisite timing, always fronting the joke out to make the audience laugh at the silliest of gags. His effort was faultless, and the smile on his face made it appear as if he was enjoying it as much as his audience. He received not one heckle, perhaps because of his infectious charm or simply because of the speed he delivers his act, making heckles a physical impossibility.

It wasn’t just a barrage of one-liners however. Lulls in the show were sparse as Tim would burst into song, which, although always ludicrous, were sung in tune and struck a chord with the audience. His box of props, always present in his shows, contained many delights. Some homemade with cardboard and a marker pen, others such as a huge microphone hat, were created at some price, but all accompanied with a silly song or hilarious quip.

Some of his jokes felt crafted rather than written, others, I’m still trying to work out. Donning a robot mask, then knitting and dancing to techno music stumped me entirely, but at the same time it was one of the best moments of the show. There were instances where Tim fully showed off his pun writing talent, reeling off a succession of jokes about a particular subject, and always riding the laughter and applause perfectly, rarely leaving an unwelcome gap or moving on too quickly.

Halfway through the show Tim regurgitated some old material. Despite being some of his best jokes of his career, it was difficult to sit through, feeling almost like punishment for being a fan. However, creating a full show put together with incredibly short jokes, never mind remembering it all, must be a laborious task.

In his encore however, he won back his fans. Over the years Vine’s songs have amassed into a greatest hits collection, allowing him to roll them out at will, a luxury other comedians don’t have. He started with Deep, a song requiring the audience to shout deep once the microphone is pointed at them. A song named Family Holidays then followed, but what pleased the audience most was his signature pen behind the ear routine, in which Tim tries repeatedly to throw a Biro behind his ear. Tension, expectation, disappointment and finally jubilation were all created by the simple act of throwing a pen behind an ear.

Tim Vine is a silly comedian, and by the glint in his eye and enormous grin, he knows it. That’s not in any way to his detriment. Silly comedy is extremely difficult to get right, but in this show, Vine certainly got it right.

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