Andrew Watts: How to Build a Chap
Far from another ‘dead dad’ show by this contentedly niche comic
This article is from 2015.
Someone once heckled Andrew Watts with the word ‘niche’, which he took as an unintentional compliment, and rightly so. His unique crossbreed of humour (economics and parenting, roughly) is a specific one indeed, but if you can get on-board with his strange analyses, and stay tuned through his cricket jokes, his free show is a well-crafted delight.
A middle-aged, ex ‘high powered lawyer’ from north London who jacked it in to do something that made him happy, Watts explains toddlers, sleep deprivation and modern dating rituals using chaos theory and freakonomics. At one point he compares the devaluing of the kiss at the end of emails to the hyperinflation and devaluing of the Deutschmark in the early 20th century. He’s no expert on how to be a dad, he points out; in fact, he wrote the show by neglecting his child and buggering off to New Zealand for a stand-up tour where the heckles were some of the most supportive and friendly he’s encountered, he adds, bemusedly.
He likens the Gina Ford school of child-rearing to a sinister pagan ritual where the baby is a malevolent deity to be appeased, while he fears that his son won’t make it into the right gang later in life, what with catchment-area restrictions and strict faith-based criteria for such membership. Watching his son grow up, it’s also dawning on him that ‘sons want to overthrow their parents, but equally, parents want to be overthrown’. Although he’s adamant this isn’t another ‘dead dad’ show, by the time he does slip in references to his own father, who died six years ago, it makes a meatier chunk in an otherwise light-hearted soup. Honed to include more laughs and added confidence compared to previous years, his 2015 show is one for those bored of heteronormative gender stereotypes in stand-up and seeking fun, smart and dorky whimsy instead.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 667 7533, until 30 Aug (not 17), 8.45pm, free.