/ ★★

Sex Depression

Contemplate the poster, in which Andrew Roberts seemingly wants to imply that he not only has dicks on his mind, but that he is, himself, a bit of a dickhead. This is undoubtedly deliberate: I think the last time a comic made this many jokes about sucking dick was back in 1993, and between one shock joke and the next he doesn't craft the most likeable persona for show.

Illustration of Andrew Roberts with a soft, pink, hairless penis incorporated into his forehead and surrounded by a blue bubble.

But if Roberts is a dickhead, he's a dickhead with a heart of gold, forever winking at us like the sphincter hiding in the 'o' of his name. The humour is pretty blue, and the Holocaust crack was not really worth it, but in general he takes care to react to the audience and craft his jokes to straddle the line rather than to, say, repeatedly drive back and forth over it.

The biggest problem with his jokes is not that they're shockingly offensive, but that they just aren't that funny. At one point he brings up that there are people who are offended by the c-word, and goes on to tell us his opinion of them. I think you can guess the punchline, which landed with the force of a feather.

Which is not to say Roberts didn't get plenty of laughs. There was a point where he had been bombing for about ten minutes straight where he paused and then said to us, “This isn’t even my worst show.” It's unfortunate that the biggest laughs he got came when he was heckling his own show, but he's got the winning smile and electric sort of charisma that really sells his understated brand of self-deprecation. It's just that he doesn't find enough opportunities to bring it out.

The show could have been better for a lot of factors. There could have been a bigger and more engaged audience. There could have been fewer hecklers. The jokes could have been more tested. Roberts could have leant further into the character, to make it that little bit easier for the audience to connect with what he was doing. Any one of those changes could have made the show more enjoyable, but one change alone probably wouldn't have made much of a difference.

Hidden in the performance I saw that night, however, was the potential for something special. This was a bad show, but one I still recommend seeking out.

★★