Like those nut-revealing jeans, the odd myth of the ever despairing Salford born ‘punk poet’ sticks. But with his set at Komedia John Cooper Clark doesn’t want us to stare at slag heaps or moan about sub-Spanish weather, but rather laugh at the comic contortions that language allows.
Hedgehogs are implored to “share the hedge”. Coco the Clown is told to drop the ‘Clown’ from his name because “we know you’re not a quantity surveyor, mate.’ These, along with rude ditties, snatches of knowingly dead-pan limericks and flip, smart plays on well worn phrases intersperse more naff set piece gags that indulge rather than interrogate national and racial stereotypes. Unfortunately, these lowlier and short episodes, which never get as nasty as Jimmy Carr’s Gypsyphobic digs, detract from this performer’s great talent.
The poems, which sound both belligerent and jocular, are by far the best bit, with classics like ‘Chicken Town, Evidently’ and ‘Hire Car’ delivered all but perfectly, although ‘Twat’, a string of idiosyncratic digs typically delivered like slow venom, is perhaps given over too quickly. Still, this and the rest of his well wearing repertoire remind the audience – although the friendly and familiar bunch knew already – that this man is a wordsmith worthy of regard.