Once again its that time of year where all the panel-show-comedians get their latest tour into the shops the make their christmas bonus - good luck to them, stand-up (and panel shows) have never been as popular - but it does mean that the market has become very saturated.
We get the same old format (cant really fault them but it can get tiring), the same old performers (lee evans still going strong), the mock the week crew all with their offerings (not another russell howard dvd, hes got a box set now dont you know), some very good newcomers like micky flanagan and stephen merchant and the usual rehashing of old shows and repackaging (russell brands "new" new york live show dvd complete with years old material), but greg davies' stands out by a country mile.
Not only is it good to see someone new getting their dvd on, but it is also a huge bonus when someone youve liked on their various appearances and shows comes out with a fresh, hilarious and original show. I havent laughed this hard during a stand-up for years, it caught me off guard and it kept me hooked every second of the way through.
What greg has done here isnt vastly unique (gone is the one man and his microphone routine), with a flip chart and little book of short stories being the props used but it just helps things along a bit - and considering plenty of the material is about greg during his teaching days the flipchart doesnt feel out of place. Everyone seems to be trying to use a little gimmick to make their show a bit more visually entertaining (stephen merchants encore is an ingenious example) but this is used subtly and acts as a small visual aid to what is central to the show - storytelling.
Greg davies is one of the people, to me, that can make reading (or shouting) the phone book funny, but he also has a wonderful storytelling ability and some great responses, jokes and observations. alot will depend on whether you find him funny to start with, but even if its only a small bit you need to take the chance here. there are some genuinely brilliant stories (the cheeseballs and the dog starts us off well) and even better characters (I wish I was one of Greg's pupils in his drama lessons) and it all thunders along towards the wonderful conclusion.
So if you are looking for your annual stand-up fix for christmas then look no further, it blows the rest out of the water. Sometimes a comedian with 40+ years of stories, adventures and events gets their chance to tell it all, here is that show. Truly excellent.