A perceptive and funny take on fame
This article is from 2013.
Given that it’s been 15 years since his last stand-up shows proper, David Baddiel cuts a very natural and confident figure on the wide open George Square Theatre stage. He hasn’t made this comeback to boost his pension fund (the books, radio and film work have probably already built him a pleasant enough nest egg, thanks), but instead he wants to get a few things off his chest about fame.
The concept of celebrityhood is far removed from what it was back in the day when he and Rob Newman were roller-skating around Wembley Arena: chances are he wouldn’t have gone home after that gig to see an insulting message posted on his Twitter feed from a complete stranger (what with social networking not even a glimmer in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye in the early 90s).
While Baddiel admits and insists that he’s not especially famous anymore (his finest moments during this hour are about being mistaken for someone else, even when they have less than happy consequences), he analyses the various levels of celebrity and how it affects both the famous and those looking in from the outside. The internet may have helped artificially close the gap between those two groups, but to Baddiel, it’s not especially beneficial for either party.
While some comics return after an extended break from stand-up and just cobble a show together (usually vaguely something about growing older), Baddiel rigidly and passionately pursues his theme. Yes, there’s a bit about air travel, but it’s there to highlight another aspect of his topic, as do his reflections on Auschwitz, Julie Burchill’s caustic journalism, the Tube, and his participation in Russell Brand’s wedding. A more than slight return, then, for an accomplished and affable comic who really deserves not to be mistaken for other beardy and bespectacled personalities.
Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 11 Aug, 7.30pm, £15–£17.50.