Liam Withnail: Homeboy
- Deborah Chu
- 6 August 2018
Affable musings on feminism and privilege
By his own admission, Liam Withnail's recent personal life hasn't exactly been the stuff of comedy gold. Two years ago, his routine plumbed the depths of his alcoholism; in 2017, he navigated his new marriage. But this year, despite the current political tumult, nothing much of consequence has happened to him. Life's still pretty easy for a straight white man.
But at whose cost? Withnail considers how straight-forward he's had it up until now, both personally and professionally, by dint of his sexuality and skin colour. Such introspection becomes him: his reflections on why people don't read books written by women, or why female comics don't book as many gigs as their male counterparts never seem self-congratulatory, as he also riffs on his own ignorance and deepest anxieties about how equality may diminish his creature comforts. Effective parallels drawn to his working-class childhood (and a late-in-life discovery of sweet potatoes) highlight how difficult and how long such sea changes can take.
Withnail's jokes are as solid as ever, and whilst Homeboy doesn't contribute anything new to the feminist discourse, watching a well-meaning person actively work towards becoming a more open, thoughtful one – and being quite funny about it too – is still a joy.
Monkey Barrel, until 26 Aug (not 14), 5pm, £5 in advance or donation at the venue.