Ever got into a heated argument with a stranger online? Phil Nichol has. The title of his latest show was inspired by a three-way dispute on Facebook with a Flat-Earther and a grammar-shy troll, but has further meaning than a mere cyberspat. At heart, it’s about acknowledging that each and every one of us is capable of being wrong; hindsight is a beautiful thing and we should be more tolerant of each other’s opinions, experiences and blunders. After all, to err is human and to forgive bloody well should be too, since God hasn’t shown his face around lately and someone needs to pick up the slack.
This is the point that Nichol drives at tenaciously, incessantly, almost manically at times. His energy levels are always through the roof; he’s like a precocious schoolkid who’s guzzled too many Dip Dabs before the bell and is now showing off in front of his classmates, riding his sugar high like the crest of a mighty wave. Not that it’s all sunshine and roses in the show, far from it – among other topics, we’re regaled with tales of the infidelity of Nichol’s ex-wife, the breakdown of his best friend’s relationship and a car accident which left his brother in a coma over 20 years ago. This last trauma in particular provides the main meat of the show, but Nichol weaves in a number of other threads around it, including the severity of his parents’ religion (via some excellent Scottish accent impersonations) and a brush with Anne Robinson several years back.
There’s even time for some musical interludes and a full-blooded acting audition, a product of his time at drama school. It’s a rollercoaster of a show, teetering all over the place in terms of style and tone – one minute Nichol is cackling sinisterly, the next he’s sombre and reflective, the one after he’s screaming into the mic. Expect a sweaty, high-octane hour filled with vitriolic diatribes against modern society, religion and any other number of targets – but with a more caring, inclusive message at its centre.