Aptly for a venue whose logo is a cowboy, Simon Munnery is dragged on to the stage by “wild horses”. It’s something he’s always wanted to do apparently, and as he proudly tells the audience, he’s ‘managed to do it for a quid’.
One of those great comedy performers who has always flown mainly under the mainstream radar in guises such as Alan Parker: Urban Warrior, and The League Against Tedium, Munnery comes across as, above all else, infinitesimally interested in the mechanics of comedy itself. So much so in fact, that he goes through all six openings he had considered for the show.
His style is conversational to the point of coming across as improvised. Unlike some acts who have honed their material so far that it sounds stilted, Munnery is all surreal whimsy and self-referential tangents. Not all of it always works, but any joke falling flat is acknowledged and another strand is explored.
He is overwhelmingly more hit than miss however, and the substantial Stand audience was entirely appreciative. His disdain for the mainstream is evident in impressions of Billy Connolly, and an offhand description of the creative process of U2 is as succinct as it is brilliantly harsh.
And Nothing But is less prop-heavy than past shows; the title no doubt reflecting this decision. There is one treat in store in the form of an endearingly lo-fi contraption that enables the user to dance the “neo-can-can”, (‘a high kick and a glimpse of underwear’).
Munnery is a comedian almost impossible to describe in terms of easy pigeonholing or comparisons to other act. It’s sometimes even difficult to pinpoint just why he’s funny – he just is; and that’s obviously the highest praise once could give.