Bringing his well-wrought, deadpan, observational comedy back to our screens, Jason Manford's latest DVD, 'Live' is another excellent (if slightly flawed) performance from the likeable Manchester comic. Manford draws on similar themes to previous shows, but provides a fair bit of fresh material. His musings on matters such as 24-hour supermarket staff, Prince Philip's racism, and his mum's penchant for using phrases which don't actually exist, are all superb, and provide an interesting view into Manford's comic way of viewing the world. Having seen Jason perform live earlier in his career, it's fair to say that his delivery has become slicker, and the jokes on 'Live' flow excellently; although with this added slickness, has come a slightly irritating habit of namedropping, which is in evidence, on this collection.
There are plenty of excellent moments on 'Live', and Manford's skill at delivering surprise twists and one-liners to end his stories, mean that there are plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud moments on display, here. The personal anecdotes tend, here, to be the best in his repertoire; from watching a German porn tape labeled 'World Cup Italia' by his Dad, to finding out his Nan once swore in the blitz. There is a bit of a double-edged sword here, though, as whilst tales like this are endearing and humorous; and often painfully relevant to those of us who can look back on our awkward teenage years with humour, there is a bit too much focus on his telling stories about his wife and kids, some of which aren't that funny. Still, on balance, 'Live' is a highly amusing and well-wrought live performance from a man who is currently amongst the nation's best comics. For fans of Jason Manford, or just for those looking for a smart, dry-witted and fun comedy DVD, I would definitely recommend 'Live'.