As the lights go down at 21:30, a chirpy Lancastrian voice filters out on the tannoy, introducing tonight’s act. Being, judging by the applause, one of the only people in the Brighton Dome who does not know of Jon Richardson yet, I assume that this is simply the announcer. When he stutters and then admits, “God, I’m bad at this”, I’m taken slightly aback at the brutal honesty of this lad. Only when he modestly proclaims, “And now introducing…me” and appears to a chorus of cheers and whoops, do I realise my mistake (I’m not the quickest, you may have noticed).
Beginning with his theory on how Bill Gates must be very well-endowed to have a company made up of the words “micro” and “soft”, Richardson provides us with an hour and a quarter of thoroughly impressive material, loosely based around his endearing search to find perfection. Strongly reminding me of Lee Mack (partly due to the accent, but also the wonderful willingness to self-criticise), the Swindon-based comedian takes us through arguments with his Nan about Woolworths’ demise, the pains of single life, and why snooker is the perfect game for people with OCD – “it’s basically taking a messy table and clearing it up”. The highlight comes with a hilarious recounting of an exchange with a London cabbie, in which the Northerner’s attempt at a Cockney accent slowly develops into a nonsensical two-way conversation of improvised Cockney rhyming slang.
If there is a negative, it’s Richardson’s Lee Evans-esque habit of overusing the guarantees-a-laugh high-pitched silly voice (that’s its professional name by the way), but that hardly clouds a thoroughly enjoyable evening for the near-capacity crowd. Not a bad turnaround for a guy who, 75 minutes earlier, had appeared to me solely an incompetent, soon-to-be-fired announcer.