Tiernan Douieb’s new show sees him reprise his role as the lovable man-child or, by his own account, the Teddy Ruxspin of stand-up. Similarly to last year, he ties together insulin dependence, best mates and an ability to reference his personal life as much as comic book characters, all in an ineffably jovial manor.
This year he uses ‘niceties’ as his theme and examines it by listing the unsung heroes he’s encountered throughout his life – magical tramps and helpful old Prague women included. To his credit he allows himself to deviate from the theme where necessary and doesn’t stick too rigidly to what isn’t necessarily a very strong premise. In terms of quality jokes, Tiernan can be fairly hit and miss.
He occasionally makes good observations such as: if there was a real red bull, wouldn’t it make all the other bulls angry, and if the Dolmio family eat Dolmio everyday then why aren’t they horribly malnourished? He falters though, with weak gags about long-term TV runners becoming Olympic runners and bad puns like ‘gateau de toillette’. Quite often his gags trail off, and no one seems more acutely aware of this than Tiernan himself, as he pauses awkwardly to take in the silence.
Where he succeeds, is in both the construction of his show and the heartfelt performance of it.
Technically he’s very adept at his craft; interweaving themes, building to the finale and exposing enough of his real self to make his insights seem truly sincere. Furthermore, when he does bare his soul it’s without the façade of a stage persona and all the more brave and compelling for it.
Douieb is a funny and endearing man but not a hilarious one.
The feeling I get is that if you took your stoner mate and wrote down every funny thing he said in a year then the collection you produced would be of similar quality.
What perhaps couldn’t be emulated is the earnestness with which his tales are told – it’s this that goes some way to redeeming the performance.
It’s also worth noting that he even perpetrates* his own nicety as the audience enter, by handing out much needed fans to combat the sweltering heat in his cave within the Caves.
*[ED: shouldn’t this be ‘perpetuates’? ]