Leicester Comedy Festival review: Roger Swift’s Machine Pun at Grays@LCB Depot

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By James Cannell

What can you class as bad comedy? Is it bad because of the jokes? Or is it the delivery of them? Whatever the case, Roger Swift knows exactly how bad his puns are, which is what makes them so glorious.

Swift’s act seems unsure in its delivery, but that could have been intentional. The audience couldn’t be faulted for coming out being more confused than when they went in. Maybe that was intentional too. Perhaps that was the whole point, that there was no point to it. If you can’t tell, it is all a bit bewildering.

Swift’s work blended a mix of observational and prop comedy, all produced into one-line jokes that is then blanketed in unintelligent word play that was hard not to laugh at. Whether you were laughing at the actual jokes or Swift himself is another matter.

Swift is a make-do-and-mend type of comedian, often resorting to home-made props to support his act. But let’s be honest, a dildo strapped to a sieve can make anyone laugh.

There isn’t much that Swift wouldn’t joke about. His unfiltered approach was a breath of fresh air in comparison to the many snowflakes that now litter the scene. He did not pretend to be anymore than what he was, this was Swift, in all his stupidity.

The jokes were intentionally bad, even Swift knew that, which is why they were perfect. But it was not the comedy that let him down, nor was it his crowd. Like any good craftsman, Swift’s tools seemed to be the folly of his show.

It seems that the LCB Depot was not fully prepared for the Machine Pun man, consigning him to the corner of a venue, lit by no more than candlelight. It seemed a shame to leave such a comedian quarantined, especially one with malfunctioning resources.

But the show must go on, and so did the non-stop puns. They kept the audience amused for the whole one-hour session, but you couldn’t help but feel like a test subject for much of his new material.

Roger Swift was a finalist back in the UK Pun Championships back in 2017. Unfortunately, since then he hasn’t made much of a splash in the world of comedy. Here’s hoping he can change his luck in this year’s championships, at De Montfort Hall tonight.

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