Saturday, October 06, 2007

Milton Jones

Not long back from seeing Milton Jones at Colchester Arts Centre -- based at a deconsecrated church in the centre of Colchester. Most comedians make some reference to the setting but one of the first gags out of Jones' mouth is that, somewhere, there's a very confused vicar standing in a newly built Arts Centre. The audience warmed to him immediately and stayed with him for the next hour and a half as he rolled out one-liner after one-liner; only two jokes require more than a few seconds to set up and both involve a slight musical interlude; one joke is all set-up (about people arriving late) with no pay-off at all. Come to think of it, one of the longer jokes doesn't actually have a punch line.

This kind of routine burns through jokes at a tremendous rate and it's mostly based around word-play (getting an Action Man for Christmas that, when he pulled the string, said "20, 20, 20, 30, 30, 35..." -- he'd got Auction Man instead), or giving a twist to your expectations of what the punchline might be; you'd expect a lot of groans but the audience was howling with laughter. And if you didn't think much of one joke, there was another 30 seconds later, and another, and another...

It's an excellent show, no politics, no swearing -- just off the wall gags that can leap from the everyday to the surreal in a sentence. If you want a taste of the kind of thing he does, try to catch The Very World of Milton Jones on BBC7 next time it comes round or Another Case of Milton Jones which is currently being repeated on Mondays (11.00 pm) on Radio 4. His style might not be to everyone's taste but it definitely tickled the funnybone of Colchester this evening.

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