A version of Simon & Garfunkel’s song gives a misleadingly sombre introduction to Welshman Chris Broomfield’s show. Although the tone doesn’t fit this amusing hour, the title’s wholly relevant. Broomfield is hard of hearing (we’ll later be jokingly told where this sits on the scale of deafness) and much of what follows derives from his life experiences.
To the eye, Broomfield is a cross between Bob Mortimer and Kevin Spacey, and he shares a certain twinkle-eyed, knowing world-weariness with those two. Being hard of hearing can’t be much of a laugh, but he makes it so, letting us in on what the world’s like from behind the hearing aids.
Strictly speaking, the material about his hearing problems is more informative than it is funny. It would make an entertaining radio documentary, with a few chuckles thrown in along the way.
But he lets rip much more once he moves on to other topics. In his 50s, he has young kids, and does a nice line in “embarrassing dad” pranks at their expense – threatening to start vlogging a la Zoella, for one. He also reflects on the modern dating game, pondering what would happen if Amazon moved into the online dating market, while wistfully recalling his own past liaisons.
He’s perfectly placed for this kind of material. Like Simon Evans, his mild manner and “man out of time” posturing belies the fact he’s probably quite “with-it” (as they used to say in his day). And, also like Evans, he’s approachable, and courteous with an audience. He deals smartly with (friendly) hecklers, so long as he can see them, and there’s a lot of positivity in the room.
It might need a denser concentration of punchlines, or the sting of some edgier material to take this set to another level, but Broomfield is not hard to like.