Leicester Comedy Festival review: Paul Smith at the Haymarket Theatre
Review by James Cannell
There is no doubt that Paul Smith is not only the hero that comedy deserves right now, but the comedian that it needs. His quick wit and hilarious banter have made him a standout star, he is easily deserving of his name the ‘Ginger King of Comedy’.
Paul’s new show, Following, is clearly not for the easily offended. It became evident from the moment he stepped on stage, his exchanges with his audience could easily be perceived as victimising. But there is more to it talent than that.
The audience interactions that Smith has become famous for on Facebook seemed absent from this show, but it didn’t stop him from putting on a hysterical show, his relatability and down-to-earth nature was perfectly reflected by his anecdotal comedy.
Many of the stories Smith told relied on the empathy of the audience, whether it was about a wedding night, dieting setbacks or pubic mishaps. There was something for everyone, if not everything. It is fair to say that Paul Smith is the voice of the people.
It is one thing for an audience to enjoy a comedian’s performance. It is quite another to see a comedian enjoying his own performance. Smith may pretend that he still has not come to grips with his rising reputation, but his ego definitely has. The exudes happiness and glee, something you don’t see much anymore.
Smith introduced his friend Phil Chapman as his interval act. He was very edgy too, especially for a Leicester audience.
Both comics’ jokes borderline on the offensive, as they dipped their toes into aspects of black comedy. However, they never pushed past that point. The pair of friends have an obviously understanding between where humour starts, and defamation begins.
Smith has never shied away from swearing or talking about drugs, it is clear why the show has an age restriction. His ability to talk freely about such taboos is making him a talking point for the younger generation, and an even bigger spectacle online.
Paul became a finalist for Leicester Comedian of the Year last time, since then he has been crowned Liverpool’s Comedian of the year. He may still be able to walk down the street without being recognised, but there is little doubt, he most definitely will become a household name before the new year breaks.