Sunday, 14 August 2011

Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Smutty Songs 2 1/2*

Whilst I am a whore for free tickets and a big fan of the Free Festival, I'm also not against splashing out for a decent show to see a top comic if I think it will be worth it.

It was with this in mind, and with my girlfriend and I finally agreeing on a show we'd both liked to see that I booked tickets for Adam Kay.

If you don't recognise the name there is still a good chance you will have heard one of his songs, with The London Underground song having had well over 6 millions hits on youtube. It was this song that brought him to my attention and I also looked at a few of his other tunes, which were all funny and close enough to the bone to satisfy my sense of humour.

When you get into a particular comedy niche you are going to be compared to other comics doing the same sort of thing as you and one of the top comedians in the UK at the moment, Tim Minchin also sings funny songs at the piano and has lots of his songs on youtube.

There are however quite a few key differences, between Tim Minchin and Adam Kay, firstly Tim Minchin writes his own music whereas Adam Kay borrows popular tunes. That doesn't necessarily make you a bad comedian.

The key thing I didn't like about Adam Kay's style, was that many of his songs were not full songs, there were just a verse here a chorus there and while one or two were very funny and didn't need elaborated on, many of them could have been taken much further. Instead he simply stopped after the first laugh and moved on somewhere else.

The next talking point which can't go unmentioned is his capacity for drinking wine. After quaffing 1/2 a glass and a full bottle of white wine in the first 40 minutes, he managed to get half way through a bottle of red before he dropped his glass, smashing it on the stage and then simply moving on to the the next song because he didn't have anything else to say.

This was after he'd made his 4th or 5th reference to his parents not loving him, (because he's gay/not a practising doctor any more) which was funny the first time when he was sober but got more and more awkward as he got more and more drunk and it really did make the audience feel uncomfortable.

As far as I can tell from other reviews, the drinking thing is something he does during every show and whilst I think it's admirable that he can still play piano in the state he's in it really doesn't add to the performance and you end up feeling sorry for him by the end of the show.

Whilst he still has enough good material to fill an hour long show (and you can't criticise him for finishing off with the song that made him famous and effectively filled the room for him) , it seems that his old material is mainly full songs and his new stuff is mainly shorter and less complete stuff. When you add this to the fact that he can't even stay sober long enough to hold a glass until the end of the show, and then add in the fact that he has next to no straight stand up material between songs, you do end up walking away feeling a little disappointed.

He has the advantage of his crowd being friendly and forgiving because having seen his stuff on line they have an idea of what is coming and are prepared to wait for it. Sadly it doesn't come.

It was nice to hear the London Underground song live and there were plenty of laughs in the show, but I can't get over the fact that he's been performing live for six years and has been doing it professionally for a while now, yet his strongest material is the stuff he wrote whilst still a full time doctor or in the very early stages of his professional career, since then he gives the impression that he's been getting pissed, disappointing his parents and living off the fact that his one big hit can draw enough of a crowd to presumably give him a decent living. He promises so much more and still has the capacity to deliver, but seemingly not the will.

Show details:


Anonymous said...

The wine bottles have water in them!!

Anonymous said...

Just spent 4 days in Edinburgh and saw 15 comedy shows and I do have a different opinion on this one. I thought this was hands down the best show I saw.

I don't think I was the only one - the audience were doing proper belly laughs and breaking into applause all the way through.

I've seen Amateur Transplants before at Edinburgh and I thought this show was the best one. I thought the interaction with the audience and the story being told between the songs transformed it from a collection of funny songs into an all round brilliant comedy show.

Also I don't think the venue is being filled because of the bloody London Underground song - I think it's being filled because it's a great show.