Lee Nelson attempts to move away from the chavvy south London wide-boy act which made his name in his latest stand-up tour Suited and Booted.
Best known for his BBC Three show Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show, as well as his high profile pranks such as invading Kanye West’s headline set at Glastonbury, Nelson may have swapped his usual tracksuit and baseball cap for a smart two-piece but his loutish and seemingly unintelligent comedy is as evident as ever.
Nelson, played by comedian Simon Brodkin, uses the first half of the show to interact with his audience. Brodkin is clearly skilled at crowd-work and almost all of his material seems to come from the gems that the audience feed him. A shy 16 year-old boy and a 71 year-old woman copped for most of his jokes, while a quick one-liner about school-prank-turned-bad fuelled by an audience member easily got the biggest laughs, earning Nelson an applause for his quick retort.
The second part of the show disappointingly takes a downward turn with Nelson peddling clichés about class, immigrants and women. Like many comedians before him, notably Steve Coogan and Sacha Baron Cohen, Nelson pushes the boundaries of comedy precariously to the edge with his jokes drifting between silly and fun to borderline offensive. His gag about getting revenge on eastern Europeans immigrants is an arduous attempt at cheap laughs and his predictable punchlines soon grow tiresome as the show draws to a close.
That said, there is some decent comedy material hidden among the clichés and cheap laughs. A silly joke about plumbers in porn movies led to some funny heckles from the crowd and his material about being a father generates some pretty funny jokes.
Brodkin is clearly a talented performer but on this occasion seems to have lost some of the power behind his punch. Nelson’s charm and energy is evident in the first half but disappointingly, is let down by some weak material in the second half.
Reviewed on 7 February 2016