Ivo Graham: The Game of Life (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Ivo Graham: The Game of Life

Another strong hour of stand-up from everyone's favourite posh comic

A couple of Fringes ago, Ivo Graham's show had lots of screened footage, a nice call-back denouement with a scarf, and a game during which he performed a truly sensational Mr Swallow-like feat of memory. He's hinted since that he's definitely up for incorporating more such elements into his stand-up, but for The Game of Life he's gone right back to basics, and his comedy seems all the better for it.

Some things are unlikely to ever change with an Ivo show though, and, as he acknowledges early on, he will always feel compelled to mention his education background; as an Old Etonian, his past is an undoubtedly privileged one which is continually at odds with his liberal-leaning opinions. Graham's way with a phrase and imagery is as luscious and perceptive as ever, always aiming self-deprecatory digs at himself. These might be about his rather limited experience of the opposite sex, intimacy-wise, or the nerdish levels of interest he takes in gaining age-based benefits on rail travel.

Some things though, do inevitably change. Hurtling ever closer to his 30s, he is now a new father and more aware of the planet crumbling around us. Perhaps this has triggered his recently-found vegetarianism (no more 'mouthfuls of grouse' for old Ivo), though responsibility has left him needing to get his onanistic rituals placed more firmly in the diary. The Game of Life is another excellent hour from Ivo Graham, a comedian who might feel he has to be a little bit sorry for aspects of his upbringing, but who is unapologetically one of the country's true stand-up gems.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 7pm, £10–£12 (£9–£10).

Ivo Graham: The Game of Life

  • 4 stars

The time for faff is over: has Big Daddy Graham got the skillz (anecdotes/banter/topical asides) to pay da billz (gas/water/electric)? More hilariously anxious blather from one of the most hilariously anxious blatherers in the business. As spotted on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, Live from the BBC, Cats Does…