In my eyes there is no better comedy than that which you can wholeheartedly relate to — and this was the wonderful theme that underpinned the appearance of John Bishop for his second night at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham as part of his Winging It tour.
Okay, by ‘relate’ to I obviously don’t mean all of the stories, such as meeting the famous including the Queen and another form of royalty in the shape of U2’s Bono in Boston.
But I certainly mean the laugh-out-loud tales of trying to ‘pull’ at a disco or raising young children in today’s tech-savvy world.
The show had a different pace and feel to other large arena stand-up nights in that it wasn’t a flurry of one-liners jumping from one subject to the next.
Instead it focused on situational and family-life stories — mixed in with odd tit bits relating to Bishop’s superstar life, such as filming an emotional appeal in Africa as part of Comic Relief only to be disturbed by a township child being texted by her mum from a nearby shack!
Many subjects are fair game, from the use of Tinder to the no-holds-barred (or no clothing) cringefest that is the Channel Four dating show Naked Attraction with Bishop drawing parallels with the show that many of us grew up with in the shape of Cilla Black’s Blind Date.
Truthfully, the show was brilliantly honed but had an honesty and down-to-earth style that is sadly missing from some other shows that focus on style over substance.
That said, you perhaps wouldn’t have thought that to be the case after seeing the opening video montage on large screens before the 50-year-old Liverpudlian took to the stage.
For it featured Bishop in a remake of chart-topping hits from down the years, including Spandau Ballet’s True, Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You and even Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head, complete with white hooded jumpsuit and red lipstick!
Before starting his routine Bishop had to make mention of how eventful his trips to Nottingham seem to be, including a couple of years ago when two families had a full-blown fight during his act!
The night before we attended he had to deal with a heckler who took offence to Bishop referencing nut allergies and how these have come about. Random, yes. Hilarious, definitely (unless you have a nut allergy of course).
Bishop’s family — wife and three grown-up sons — took centre stage in most of the stories, including poking fun at his youngest and him having no idea what it was like as a young driver back when Bishop was a teenager and dealing with asthmatic cars (those with a choke).
The former non-league footballer also told how he came from humble beginnings, something he and his family (especially his brother who offered up a very unique gift from where Bishop once lived) have never forgotten.
A sign of where Bishop is now is perhaps seen in his wife’s menagerie of animals from horses to alpacas, which he is convinced are made up of bits God had left over. Clearly his deaf dog has a firm place in his heart!
The whole show was fabulous and featured too many belly laughs to mention. More than two-and-a-half hours flew by.
And it is all brought neatly to an end by a very personal pictorial montage that brings many of the tales neatly to a conclusion.
Winging It continues until mid-December. For more information CLICK HERE.