TUESDAY evening saw the return of North-East Comedian Chris Ramsey to the Lowry. We sent along Liam Shaw to take a look at his latest tour.
Walking in to the Lyric Theatre, the last thing I expected to see was two giant Lego letters spelling out his initials with a big screen, that’s when it clicked. Ramsey’s latest tour sees him explore what it means to grow up, and the transition into fatherhood. As the room started to fill up, anticipation was growing and you could tell that people were excited to be there.
First up was the turn of, in Ramsey’s words, the not s*** Carl Hutchinson. He was welcomed to the stage with a massive applause from the crowd. During the 20 minute set he covered everything from family to childhood, constantly having the audience in stitches. Despite being from the North-East, he had spent time in Manchester in the past, so the local jokes kept on coming giving his act that bit extra to really get the audience behind him. If he had been the only comedian on the stage tonight, it would have been worth going since Hutchinson’s quick wittedness and polished set only made people more excited for the main event.
And brilliant warm up by @CPHutchinson, defo be at his show in May.
— Patrick Smyth (@patricksmyth) March 7, 2016
— Paula Bickers (@PaulaBickers) March 7, 2016
At 9pm, the stage lights dimmed and the screen lit up. Pictures of a younger Chris came on the screen, this set the scene and before we knew it, Ramsey was running round the stage in his usual excitable manner. After apologising for turning up six months late, after his first gig was cancelled due to his wife giving birth, he told us about his recent mix up with the police, and the fact that his only words to them were: “But I’m in my underpants” which was met with a huge laughter throughout the theatre.
The first half of the show was exploring moments in everyone’s childhood, a great idea that everyone can relate to. As with a lot of comedy, audience participation was quickly used, asking three members of the audience what they wanted to be when they grew up. The responses were often met with a few jibes at why they hadn’t made it. When one guy told that he worked for HMRC, he followed the audience’s booing and made jokes about the job, gaining the support of everyone in the room.
This is where he really comes into his own, the show that I saw in Salford seemed like it would be different to the show in Lincoln, London or Liverpool. Ramsey’s laugh a minute jokes and tailored comedy made all the difference, and made it feel like the show was tailored just to you.
Whatever the genre, you caught yourself thinking ‘that happened to me!’ Whether it was the one weird kid that you made friends with on holiday or the games you used to play, it was a nostalgia-fest reminding you what made childhood great.
— Rob Howcroft (@bobhowcroft) March 7, 2016
The second-part focused on the transition into adulthood, and ‘growing up’. Although I found this part equally as funny, it wasn’t as relatable so some of the jokes were lost on me as a younger member of the audience. His: “stepping stones into adulthood” included finding houses and becoming a parent. Once again he found members of the audience to reinforce his jokes, even if that did mean picking on a few pregnant women.
His show was well polished and perfected, he knew his routine like the back of his hand. He wasn’t afraid to divulge and digress either to reveal slightly more to the audience. The moment where he did use someone’s story at their expense, he apologised and that was novel. Very often if comedian’s insult someone they take it further, but Ramsey cares about his supporters; this is backed up further by the 45 minutes that he spent signing programmes for fans after the show.
Once he’d come off stage, I caught up with him to see how he’d found it: “I loved it! I came off stage and just couldn’t stop running and jumping up and down”.
Salford, that was glorious!
I'll be out for the signing in a minute ?
— Chris Ramsey (@IAmChrisRamsey) March 7, 2016
If you want a night that will bring guaranteed laughter get yourself down to another show on the tour. It’ll be a night worth going out for.
By Liam Shaw