Review: Alan Davies: Life Is Pain
Venue: Saturday, November 2, York Barbican
It has been a long time since Alan Davies was out on tour doing his own stand up show. This Life Is Pain tour is the first in over ten years for QI regular Davies.
An understandable gap when you consider how many times a year he has to be made look foolish by Stephen Fry on QI. Throw in one of my favourite things on TV, Jonathan Creek and you have a busy man.
As Davies himself said onstage at the Barbican, “Bloody hell, I’m 47” and that is pretty much what this show is about, getting old.
I, and I assume the nation, have always found Davies a very likeable presence, disarmingly open about his own inadequacies, be they mental or physical during a show which appeared almost entirely improvised, although clearly not.
With no support act and little fanfare, Davies wandered onto the stage and chatted to the audience for a bit, commenting on the size of the Barbican, Illuminating York and terrorising a couple of latecomers.
Eventually we hit on his prepared material via a bizarre conversation with a girl who worked in a café near the York Press and had been sent to review the show and her mate, who did some backflips. Bit weird, but produced a great comedy Venn diagram of one man who had been to see Chubby Brown the night before, and Davies himself.
After an interval we hit the actual Life Is Pain part of the show, and it was funny. It seems like the ambling shambolic first half was just a gentle warmup for a genuinely hilarious second half.
We covered the death of his mother and the way his father dealt with parenting, solar eclipses and a whole host of other subjects. I felt like we had been lured in by the first half, lowering our expectations of what was to come, and then hit by a proper routine from an excellent comedian.
On this evidence, Davies should stop being TV’s resident idiot and do more stand up!