Just the Tonic launch night hits the spot
Pub comedy is a hit-and-miss affair, but it’s difficult to fault the new Just the Tonic night. The organisers must have several incriminating photos to have enticed so many names to the cultural wasteland of Tufnell Park.
It’s a powerful line-up that bumps Thick Of It star Chris Addison to third billing. He does a fine, self-aware line in suburban neuroses and produces jokes about the Daily Mail that are brought to life by his giggling energy.
If anything, it’s a shame he couldn’t be compere for the event; it would have made good use of his improv skills. Then again, it was rare for any of the performers to shift off auto-pilot, although given their calibre this isn’t a bad thing. Upcomer Gareth Richards delivered a solid, laconic set of edgy one-liners that showsthe evening isn’t relying entirely on established names.
Tim Vine did try to break out some new material, but afterone joke, gave up and went back to his usual routine (Velcro – what a rip-off; Black Beauty – now he was a dark house…repeat for twenty minutes). The problem with Tim Vine is that his whole set kicks along in second gear. It’s not bad; there’s just no light and shade to the whole thing, just perpetual semi-laughter.
That’s not a problem that could be levelled at headliner Andrew Maxwell. He’s cornered the genial Irishman-in-a-bar schtick so well that he even gets his own bar stool. You know by the time you reach the closing joke, his oft-repeated line about hijackers encountering a planeload of tanked-up EastEnders, that this is his standard material. But like the rest of the evening’s consistently high standard, it frankly doesn’t matter.
Just the Tonic launch night @ Tufnells, Tufnell Park
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