Netflix The horizons may be narrow in the British standupâs special but nobody does this sort of material better
Thereâs something odd about watching Michael McIntyreâs first Netflix special. Maybe itâs surprise that itâs taken him so long. Maybe weâre so used to seeing him on British telly â heâs such a British act, of course â that Netflix just doesnât seem like his natural habitat. Itâs like being offered a donkey ride on Venice Beach.
But maybe itâll catch on? Heâs certainly on good form in this London Palladium gig, recorded in March. Thereâs a face-mask joke halfway in (itâs about a visit to Hong Kong) which McIntyre says he now regrets â given how ubiquitous face masks have since become. But thereâs nothing to regret: on masks, as on every subject, McIntyre says nothing to ruffle even the downiest of feathers.
Would we want him to? If, at this stage, the Roadshow man were to start addressing the EU withdrawal agreement, Black Lives Matter â anything of any emotional or political consequence whatsoever â some kind of hole might open up in comedy-time continuum and swallow us all up. Thatâs not what heâs here for. Heâs here to take those super-trivial domestic matters with which we all must negotiate, and get pretend het-up about them.
So here he is on peeing in the night-time without waking your partner; on lowering yourself into a scalding bath; on those little bunnyhops once needed to move the driverâs seat in cars. The horizons are very narrow â tiresomely so across a two-hour show; less so here, at 60 minutes flat. But nobody does it better. The character he creates for his own bladder; the âred skin socks of painâ when he exits the bath; and in his car riff, the neat way with a mime and turn-of-phrase (âOften you would over-shag â¦â): the routines are impressively chiselled and grooved to maximise the funny.
With a few exceptions. Heavy lifting is visibly required to wring comedy from the changing advice around online passwords. The material on his wifeâs shoe habit feels tired, and the Titanic punchline practically predates the Titanic. The routines based around McIntyreâs funny foreign accent repertoire crave our indulgence, but â fair play â doesnât he do them well? Netflix may be a new home for McIntyre, but his shtick is as remorselessly familiar as ever.
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