Allan Havey Stands Up (3 stars)

This article is from 2018

Allen Havey Stands Up

Stage and screen veteran steps a little too easily into the murkier parts of comedy's past

With a plethora of film and TV credits to his name, including Mad Men, Hail, Caesar! and Curb Your Enthusiasm, it's somewhat surprising that character actor Allan Havey makes absolutely no mention of an impressive body of work during his show. In fact, with 35 years of live comedy under his belt, the 63-year-old is a staunch veteran of the craft. From the start of Allan Havey Stands Up, it's clear that he's a seasoned pro, bursting with confidence and in possession of a razor-sharp tongue. After ingratiating himself with the crowd using a little local flavour, he quickly exposes a spiky temperament and it would be foolhardy indeed to take him on.

While those three and half decades have helped him hone his stage presence, some of Havey's material really should have been left in the past. He throws around politically incorrect epithets with abandon, littering his set with 'spaz', 'retard' and – most of all (and exclusively aimed at women) – 'bitch'. And few other comedians would double up on an offensive stereotype of a black woman by then putting on a Jamaican accent.

Other material is fine, particularly his experiences of ageing and his distress at the way the world is getting safer. But it's his audience interaction that really shines. With a quick wit and a rancorous disposition, he turns crowd banter into a deliciously terrifying prospect. Although he's not one to suffer fools gladly, it's a relief after he wraps up his hour to learn that no grudges have been kept.

Allen Havey Stands Up, Sweet Novotel, until 26 Aug, 7.10pm, £9.

Allan Havey Stands Up

  • 3 stars

Allan Havey You’ve seen him in Mad Men, you’ve seen him in Billions, you’ve seen him in Hail Caesar! Now see why he’s one of the best stand-ups in the world working today. 'Cocksure, irreverent, and very funny' (New York Times). Strong Language. Age category: 16+