Sunday, 8 November 2009

Daniel Kitson at the Union Chapel, London

I’m quite fussy about comedy, some might say a little bit precious, but that’s because it’s something that I care about. If people are going to set themselves up as comedians then they have a responsibility to be funny. There is so much crap about though, not just material that isn’t funny but stuff that’s dull, lazy, or sometimes just offensive for the sake of it.

I’d been tipped off about Daniel Kitson about a year ago, but hadn’t been able to see him up until now. He doesn’t do telly these days, so it’s live or nothing. I’d been on his mailing list for a while though and the snippets that I’d read gave me a bit of hope that he might be worth seeing. A last minute gig announcement in London coincided with the Boro giving their own dull, lazy and offensive performance at Crystal Palace and despite the tickets selling out within a day, I got one this time.

He didn’t disappoint, his material was highly personal and all seemed true, without even a hint of exaggeration for comic effect. This is important to me too. If a routine is based upon lies or embellishment, it’s worth much less. His routine was also on a subject close to my heart, death. Or rather, how do you function with the knowledge that whatever happens in your life you will eventually die?

If you are going to talk to a roomful of strangers for close on a couple of hours, you may as well talk to them about the important stuff rather than take the piss out of the appearance of teenage Olympic swimmers or do impressions of handicapped kids.

Interestingly enough, a lot of Kitson’s material dwelled on the recent death of a relative with Downs Syndrome. However, he told us how much he had loved her, how they had laughed at her during her life and it was done with such affection that it was a world apart from the meanness of, say, Frankie Boyle. In fact, it was as far apart from the likes of Boyle and Jimmy Carr (whose act I have always felt you could reproduce simply by monopolising the crackers during Christmas Dinner), that it seemed further than the difference between the likes of Bernard Manning and the first ‘alternative’ comedians.

There’s a certain vulnerability about him too, possibly partly due to him having a stammer, which sets him apart from the arrogant ‘edgy’ pricks that pollute my world. You know who they are. Anyway, my advice is get on his mailing list and watch out for ticket announcements. He has a large following, so they tend to go quickly.


  1. I think he's mean, all this talking about death stuff.

    name the edgy pricks too

  2. Meant to say, happy birthday mate. Whichever way you dress it up 45 is halfway...enjoy

  3. Thanks very much. I remember hitting 35 and thinking, well, thats halfway. I'm trying to adopt the same approach ten years one.

    One of the benefits of being an underachiever (or a bloke of limited achievements, underachiever suggests that I could have done more), is that I can quite easily convince myself that the best is yet to come.

  4. Oh yeah get me a ticket next time please