Simon Amstell (4 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Simon Amstell

How to Do Nothing in a very funny way

Hypochondria, bulimia, dyslexia, paranoia; as stand-up material goes, it doesn’t exactly smack of a fun night out. Yet, in the hands of curly-topped Simon Amstell, neuroses and human failings are spun into a warm, intelligent and engaging hour of laughs, mostly at his own expense. Although his brand of weird, sarcastic humour as a presenter on Channel 4’s Popworld, or his biting digs on Never Mind the Buzzcocks normally expertly pointed the finger of fun at others, in Do Nothing he is much more interested in revealing the cracks in his own personality, then crawling inside them to find a few leftfield insights.

His ‘inauthentic sycophant’ of a grandma, and his taste for vulnerable ‘ill-thin’ boys are also covered, as he sifts through family life, dating and loneliness. For someone claiming to be wracked with anxiety and house-party phobia, Amstell is certainly not a clumsy performer on stage. Although a couple of accidental slip-ups in his set seemed to have been suspiciously well-polished, he pulls off the role of a charming ‘genius recluse’ like a very quietly confident natural. A likeable loser, with a heart-winning routine.

The Bongo Club, 557 2827, until 30 Aug, 8.40pm, £14–£15 (£12–£13).

Simon Amstell: Do Nothing

  • 4 stars

The ex-'Never Mind the Buzzcocks' host famous for his biting jibes at guests and pop stars shows off his sensitive and self-deprecating side in his stand-up show. Mr Amstell requests that you do not attend this show if the date clashes with something in your own life.

Simon Amstell: Do Nothing

  • 4 stars

'As close as you can get to a man emotionally and philosophically disembowelling himself on stage' (Sunday Times). 'Intellectually sophisticated, engagingly honest, genuinely accomplished stand-up' (Scotsman). 'Consistently witty and intelligent... perceptive and very funny' (Stage).

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