Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jeremy Hardy

16 October 2013

We first saw Jeremy Hardy in about 1997 in Lowestoft. I’ve written here before about that performance (in March 2007): “while on holiday in Suffolk, we were surprised to see the enormous old seaside theatre in Lowestoft advertising an evening with Jeremy Hardy. This theatre, which had Ken Dodd the previous week and Jimmy Tarbuck the following week – seemed an odd setting for a left-wing political alternative comedian. We booked our tickets and, on the night, found ourselves lost in a sea of empty seats with only about a dozen other people but Jeremy Hardy dealt with a potentially embarrassing situation extremely impressively. Quickly abandoning his prepared material he probably worked harder than ever that night and completely won his tiny audience over – one of the most impressive comedy performances I’ve seen.”  Last week we caught up with Jeremy Hardy again at Kettering Arts Centre, as part of his 30th anniversary tour, and he was even better. He is a very assured performer. Not needing to rely on any theme, props or onstage persona, he simply walks onto the stage and talks continuously for nearly two and half hours (with a 20 minute interval). His delivery sounds like a seamless stream of consciousness, mainly focussing on politics and current affairs. If you look closely you can detect a few prepared sections but mostly it feels improvised rather than scripted. Jeremy Hardy’s politics are uncompromising but his thoughtful, logical, self-deprecating style is very winning, and incredibly funny. It felt like he could have gone on all night, and we would have been delighted if he had.



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