David Baddiel marks his return to standup with a heartfelt, philosophical and hilarious look at the nature of fame. Known to the nation as “not Skinner” or “not Newman”, David Baddiel has an interesting kind of fame. He is recognisable but hasn’t been active in the public sphere for the last 15 years, leading most to think he is a down on his luck former celeb when really he is a writer of some repute, family man and member of the general public.
He speaks of booking just one priority ticket with Easyjet in order to reserve seats for the rest of his family, going to his child’s school performance and shopping in Aldi. But this is not to assure us he’s one of us, he’s well aware, and constantly reminded, of his fame (though often mistaken for Ben Elton and, eerily, Steven Spielberg when wearing a cap) by people who see him as an approachable bloke from his days playing straight man on 'Fantasy Football League' and 'Unplanned'.
Initially a little rusty – to be expected with it being the first night of the tour – his timing is a little off and he has to keep checking notes on his laptop, but he soon finds his stride and deliveres what becomes a hilarious lecture on the pitfalls of fame and the nature of the unpleasantness it can create.
Though essentially a tell all tale of what it is to be famous, Baddiel never seems like a name dropper: there is no air of pomposity or superiority, he simply seems like a man you know telling you about his life. A sort of ‘North London’ Billy Connolly, whose very fame doesn't seemed to have changed him, just given him a different perspective of the world.
Let’s hope he keeps performing with such a perspective, for his show has solid themes that stay with you after the lights come up and the stage is empty. Good comedy makes you laugh; great comedy makes you think.