THE NIGHT THAT COMEDY
NEW ROCK ‘N’ ROLL…?
Was this David Baddiel and Rob Newman tour the moment
when Stand-Up Comedy became the New Rock ‘n’ Roll?
This duo tour culminates in a sold-out Wembley Arena gig
in which they play to a 12,000 capacity audience.
The two part company immediately after…
Gig Review of:
DAVID BADDIEL AND ROB NEWMAN
at ‘Sheffield City Hall’ (1993)
You know that ‘Mary Whitehouse Experience’? You liked that, you did. That was your favourite TV programme, that was…
‘Do you ever feel you want to shag an actress?’ yells a female voice from the audience.
‘Can I see your Equity Card?’ retaliates Rob Newman quicker than I can write it.
So, Say Kids, what time is it?
It’s time for… it’s time for… David Baddiel and Rob Newman’s forty-date national tour.
And any doubts about quality-slippage get well-stomped. Anarchic and spontaneous, they also achieve some depth, some pain, and an oblique intelligence with the advantage of the richer, more fulsome vocabulary the idiot box denies them. The stage is largely bare, but – when it’s down to strict verbals, they’re well up to it. In separate sequences, Mrs Whitehouse’s bastard sons assemble distinct personal identities, united only by their black neuroses and exploitation of post-adolescent uncertainty. Rob Newman draws from – what he quotes Anthony Hopkins as calling, ‘debts of rage’, aiming his ‘irrational anger’ with sniper’s accuracy at anything and everything he despises, from the charity Fred-Aid to Heathcote Williams’ epic eco-poem ‘Whale Nation’, interrupting it only long enough to do a spot-on Cure send-up – Robert Smith with lipstick applied by Stevie Wonder whining ‘riding along on the crest of a wave’, followed by a burst of strobes to ‘flush out the epileptics’.
Together, the Whitehouse boys extend their TV characters and situations – the two musty old debating Professors, Edward Colander-hands, and Newman’s ‘Ray’ who is cursed so his every utterance sounds like an ironic put-down. ‘Oh Boo-Hoo-Hoo, wasn’t it sad about Benny Hill… and Frankie Howerd.’ And, already, the first slight hint of each sketch provokes the kind of instant audience recognition factor that, previously, could only be claimed by the latter-day Pythons. While, in the foyer, a Rock Star-cum-Sex Object turn-over of ‘Barely Gobshite Experience’ videos, books and tour T-shirts feed the post-Smiths Indie generation that Rob and David seem to have inherited.
As the two debating Professors might say, ‘this was your favourite gig, this was. You liked this one, you did…’