Tom Houghton: That's What I Go to School For
- Claire Sawers
- 6 August 2019
This article is from 2019
A contradictory look at the consequences of extreme privilege
Something feels out of balance here. No, not the obvious thing, that self-described 'ultra-privileged' stand-up Tom Houghton is part of the 7% in the UK who attended fee-paying schools and now calls the actual Tower of London home (his dad, Baron Houghton of Richmond, is Constable of the Tower of London). It's the 55 minutes fondly reminiscing about larks he had with over-confident, casually racist boarding-school mates (sniffing fingers after discos with girls, circle jerks, homophobia, saying stuff like 'smelly chat mate') followed up by a five-minute finale where he laments how divisive and irrelevant these institutions are.
After anecdotes about being 'shandy-shamed' and doing a (pretend?) blokey bit about the patriarchy being 'legends', the tone flips and he blames his schooling for the fact he can't tell his girlfriend he loves her, and still feels insecure and competitive around other men. It feels like it would have been a totally different show if he'd put that in at the start. His honesty and insight are endearing, though the rugby bants is harder to warm to. Houghton is clearly assessing himself for damage now, but it's not obvious during the set whether he's bragging or slagging it all off.
Pleasance Dome, until 25 Aug, 8.10pm, £9–£12 (£8–£11).