Neil by Mouth
Energy and whimsy but far too many groans
This article is from 2011.
In his first and foremost career as a presenter on MTV and covering all manner of extreme sports, Neil Cole may have come across as a funny guy, but here he flatly fails to make the leap into live stand-up. It’s certainly not for a lack of energy: he leaps onto the stage to a rock anthems mash-up soundtrack, all scissor-kicks and windmill arms, roaring his welcome song into the mic in the manner of many a frustrated rock star.
But for all his physical vigour, the jokes are decidedly lazy, and sometimes repeated for extra cringe. It’s one thing to play with the boundaries of naff with the occasional self-conscious clanger, but the groan-worthy punchlines come thick and fast, some of them drifting ominously into view long before they’re uttered.
There are a few nicely whimsical musings when he questions the world with a round-eyed originality, but they’re lost amid the ragged waffling. The odd fluffed line, a failed attempt to hide cribbed notes for one of the more amusing parts of the show, and an inability to make anything of frequent exchanges with the audience set the seal on this underwhelming experience.
Cabaret Voltaire, 226 0000, until 29 Aug (not 15, 25), 6.15pm, £5–£8 (£4–£5).