Most comedy shows start with a warm up act, but Jason Manford doesn’t agree with paying someone £60 a night to be a slightly lousy version of him.
So he does it himself.
By his own admission Manford is no good at accents or impressions, but he does a pretty good impersonation of a warm up act for the first half of his show.
First World Problems could easily be described as a night which struggled to get off the ground, but I find that idea difficult to apply here, because at no point did he seem to be struggling, or really trying.
Relying heavily on football banter, interaction with the audience and the rivalry which exists between British cities, there are few surprises in Manford’s ‘warm up’ routine.
His approach is so laid back, friendly and conversational that he just about gets away with the lazy, sometimes clichéd areas that he strays into in the show’s first half.
When the night really kicks off, it is almost as though the warm up Manford hands over to the man we’ve all been waiting for – and he doesn’t disappoint,
The First World Problems theme, when applied after the interval, works well.
Manford encourages his audience to submit examples of their First World Problems and reads out the best before delivering the strongest material of the night, proving he really is master of his trade.
Later, I found myself creased over with tears in my eyes as Manford explored the perils of life as a father of twins and other fairly standard aspects of domestic life.
Although the show had most of the audience in bits towards the end of the night, I can’t help thinking that if the popular comic had stuck to his show’s theme more closely throughout the evening, he wouldn’t have had to wait so long.
Jason Manford’s First World problems tour will return to the North East for two dates at the Sunderland Empire on November 8 and 9 and then another two at Middlesbrough Town Hall on December 18 and 19. Visit www.jasonmanford.com for details.