Jim Tavaré: From Deadpan to Bedpan
- Claire Sawers
- 19 August 2018
A long-awaited return is a triumph albeit one fuelled by trauma
Jim Tavaré – maybe better known to some as the tall comedian from the 90s in the smart penguin suit, who used to do stand-up next to his double bass – has a story to tell. He makes that clear from the get-go: his new show is less about jokes and more about a painful, cathartic tale. Without giving away too many spoilers, Tavaré had a near fatal car accident last year, and it didn't look like he would be able to walk, never mind play double bass again ('I couldn't play it in the first place', is his deadpan aside).
The Harry Potter movie actor, and co-writer of The Sketch Show with Ronni Ancona and others, moved to LA eight years ago, so is able to weave in personal bits about his home life, his rescue dog, and his wedding in Vegas before he gets to the bone-crunching details of his crash. Tavaré knows some of the details are gory, not to mention harrowing (his medical bill alone was nearly $900,000, he explains, which is why he's back working on the Fringe, after last visiting in 1998).
But rather than forcing an extreme episode of A&E Live down his audience's throat, he chucks in regular laughs 'for release', as he puts it. As the show goes on, the laughs quieten for his decent material, as the sucker punch of his real-life disaster kicks in. But he manages to keep a healthy balance of comedy and confession, with a nice few plugs for the NHS and California's progressive policies on medicinal marijuana in there too. A matter-of-fact look at how this unstarry comic nearly checked out, but ended up accidentally bumping up his celebrity profile on IMDb instead.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 26 Aug, 4.15pm, donations.