The 34 year old comedian was on fine form as he regaled the crowd in Belfast to stories and surreal observations ranging from Nelson Mandela’s death, public masturbation, overturning the monarchy and relationships. There was a current throughout a lot of tonight’s act which concentrated on equality (gender, sexuality, race, etc).
Many will know Amstell from his stint as the host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Popworld as well as for his own comedy show, Grandma’s House.
It was a very honest, almost intimate, act dipping into aspects of his life from his parent’s divorce, veganism and relationships. In a bigger venue one could feel removed/distant, whilst in the smaller confines of the festival tent, with very loud rain, it felt very intimate. From the beginning, in the interests of full disclosure, the audience were told they were ‘market research’. I think Amstell works well in a smaller venue due to the above-mentioned intimacy so I have no difficulty at all being a guinea pig to be experimented on and it’s always a pleasure seeing a comedian in a smaller venue. As a bit of a nerd I’m always fascinated by the creative process as well so for me I liked being part of such an audience.
Despite the few and far between flat notes (it was market research after all), the humour was well executed, with the characteristic dark edge and surrealism one can expect from Amstell interspersed with intimate and occasionally sympathetic revelations/observations.
The chuckles came regularly and I was very surprised when the show was over. Cue, “it’s over already?”. Sadly so, I had such an enjoyable evening that I just don’t notice the time go by. If you get a chance to see Amstell in a small venue please do so – it’s a delight.
1st – 11th May 2014 – Cathedral Quarter, Belfast