Review – Andrew Bird, Ha Ha Time, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 20th April 2019

Andrew Bird Ha Ha TimeThis was to be the last date in Andrew Bird’s first ever (I can’t believe it was his first ever) national tour, and appropriately enough, for a Northamptonshire lad, he returned to his spiritual home at the R&D. We’d seen Mr Bird do his stuff at Screaming Blue Murders in the past when he entertained us hugely with his twenty-minute sets. But could he sustain an entire evening on his own? By Jiminy he could!

Andrew Bird is a no-gimmick comedian; what you see is what you get. He doesn’t pick on the front rows, because, as he says, you never know what kind of mess you’re going to get into (so sitting on the front row, like we did, is safe!) He’s an immensely likeable chap; the kind you’d really want to spend time down the pub with. His delivery is sure, authoritative, confident and pacey, but never aggressive. And his material is full of the everyday observations that we all have about how ridiculous life is, but could never put into words ourselves. His turns of phrase are immaculate, as is his timing for the killer lines. And there is a warmth in his delivery that reassures you that all the teasing comes from a kind place – unsurprisingly, perhaps, considering how much of his material stems from his domestic bliss with his Slovakian wife and two incredibly difficult children.

Andrew BirdAmong his gems, we learned how so many of the problems that face women are named after men; how sometimes you can be relieved to be in the company of Millwall supporters; the problems of having a cream coloured settee with infants around; when you should, and shouldn’t, give someone a birthday card; and what you should really be thinking about when you give a sperm sample. I also loved his (100% accurate) portrayal of how posh people treat their friends in comparison with working class people. The beauty of his comedy is its recognisability; the show is two hours of pure truth, bundled together in a fantastically funny package.

When the time came to wrap up, I couldn’t believe the evening had flown by so quickly. Mrs Chrisparkle and I were laughing about it all the way home, and, indeed, a few days later, we’re still quoting our favourite bits. This is a performer for whom surely greatness awaits – if not, there’s no justice in this world. If you get the chance to see him in action, don’t hesitate!

P. S. As this was the end of his tour, he was having the show properly and professionally videod and edited for future audiences to see what they missed. We noted there was a tiny wee camera at the foot of the stage looking directly out at the crowd – and, from what we could gather, aimed firmly in our faces. Apologies in advance if we ruined the video!!!

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