Monday, 21 March 2016
Gig Review: Bridget Christie, A Book For Her @ The Everyman, 21/3/16
Unfortunately this review cannot just be about how funny I thought Bridget was, how intelligent and witty her material is, how much I enjoyed the gig, or even how adorable Bridget was after the show when I was fortunate enough to have a brief chat, my book signed and even a hug (eep!)
No, this review has to be about the middle aged couple who decided to jump the book signing queue after the show to call Bridget 'a Nazi' - a ridiculous slur for a left-wing feminist comedian!
Let me explain; this couple were sat directly opposite me across the stage during the first half. I noticed because the man - in particular - was stony faced throughout and especially during some material about Stirling Moss. By the closing stages of the first half I had decided they were unlikely to return after the interval. But surprisingly they did - I saw them, as they chose to ignore their original seats and sit on the back row of the stalls instead.
Bridget came on for the second half and noticed that there were now two empty seats in the front row - in fact there were a couple more empty seats she noticed. People had left the gig. Given that she was joking about the patriarchal societies acceptance and indeed propagation of rape, she jokingly referred to anyone who left during the interval as 'rapists' - including the couple who - unbeknownst to her, obviously - had simply moved seats.
Did they shout out, letting her know they had just moved? No, they kept quiet and decided to make their presence known at the book signing, putting a dampener on everyone who witnessed their snooty moans night, but most importantly and unfairly of all, upsetting Bridget. Despite her reassuring them that it was 'just a joke' and that she wasn't to know they'd moved, they stomped off with the unpleasant and all-pervading air of smug superiority and self righteousness.
Comedy is a flimsy gossamer thing, and just as you can't please everyone, you can't amuse everyone either. Comedy can die on its arse and be misunderstood in a room above a pub, and it can do exactly the same in an established theatre venue like The Everyman in Liverpool. For me comedy works much better in a specific comedy club or venue, where the punters actually are regular comedy punters who understand that the person there on stage with the mic, the comedian, telling the jokes for their amusement, is y'know, just joking.
That insufferable couple did not understand this. They did not appreciate the gag, they did not seek to inform the performer there and then (stand up isn't like a play - audiences can interact to some extent - but they chose not to) they did not seem aware that they had come out for a night of jokes or what kind of material Bridget Christie delivers. It always mystifies me that some seemingly intelligent people just can't grasp that comedians are meant to joke, to not strictly be honest and to play a role, for a living. I recently read one blogger who I respect condemn Bridget's husband (and my favourite stand-up) Stewart Lee as a snob who was full of himself. Now, that blogger is intelligent, but that is a monumentally stupid remark to make; calling Lee a snob is like criticising Tommy Cooper for being a bad magician, or claim that Les Dawson couldn't play the piano - that's his act!
This couple bothered me and indeed they're still bothering me now, almost two hours after their strop. Was there inability to get Bridget because they were Everyman-goers rather than stand up comedy goers? Or were they just humourless pricks?
Bit of both maybe. I don't know. One thing I do know is that you may get the joke or you may not, you may simply just not find a comedian funny - but that's not something that gives you the right to feel offended. Offence is not something you can feel just because you didn't find something funny or understand comedy, even at its most basic.
Anyway, needles to say the gig amused me greatly. The material is heavily indebted (naturally, given they share a title) to Bridget's book A Book For Her which I have just read, so I did feel that some aspects of the show were covering familiar ground, especially in the first half which skipped across the book's most salient points and gags and felt a teensy bit tentative as Bridget got a feel of the room - this being her first appearance at The Everyman. The second half was an absolute blinder though, covering everything from the recent Budget and how the Tories extreme austerity policies in general slash everything that benefits society, Rachel Dolezal, Caitlyn Jenner, Donald Trump, UKIP, Jeremy Clarkson and lastly the Tampon tax - with Bridget revealing that for some time now she's been sending her soiled underwear to George Osborne care of the Treasury! (and literally revealing too - bringing on a jiffy bag stuffed with blood stained pants marked VAT!)
All in all, a great night (save from the two idiots) that combines belly laughs with searing insight and sobering facts on politics and race and gender issues. And I am still really chuffed at having had the opportunity to speak to Bridget and get a hug from her! She's so sweet :D