For many, half past eleven is a time when we are already in bed sleeping, dozing in front of the TV or worrying too much to sleep. Yet, Chris Coltrane has decided that this is the perfect time to deliver an hour of political stand up.
Before the show, the audience is asked not to shout out or heckle. If they did, they might end up shouting “tell us a joke” or even “say something funny”. The central theme of the show is that neo-liberalism isn’t working and our political classes’ refusal to acknowledge or act upon this is the cause of most of our current problems. His message is quite clear: nationalise, tax fairly and work to end corporate greed. Hard to disagree with, really. Unfortunately, our magic money tree that might be used to buy back these privatised enterprises has already been left bare from bribing a party of God-fearing homophobes and choosing to repeatedly punch ourselves in the British face over Brexit.
It is more likely that you find yourself nodding your head in collective indignation than laugh. It is a difficult time for political comedy; how can you satirise the current climate when the reality is more absurd than fiction possibly could be? Trump, Tories, Brexit, global tax avoidance, Murdoch, Dacre, mass privatisation and pulled pork all feature in the show (not pulled pork) and are all so depressing to anyone under the age of 40 that standing on a stage and swiping at them sounds good but ultimately changes very little.
To his credit, Chris Coltrane’s message is sincere and he is dedicated to a more positive future for both comedy and Britain. He runs a safe space comedy club (Lolitics in Camden), Lolitics podcast and a YouTube series called The News for Idiots. It is important that there are comics out there that are willing to engage in politics, make it more accessible/funny and spread messages and ideas that offer a glimpse of a brighter future in what is a grey, cold, and ruthless conservative Britain.
Chris Coltrane’s brand of comedy has admirably attracted the ire of the Daily Mail and the section of the show where he deconstructs an article and comments section is arguably the funniest part of his show. The rest was engaging but failed to muster many big laughs. If the show was a little bit earlier it might have been a different story. However, if you consider yourself a left-wing vampire then this might be the perfect show for you.