Tim Key: Single White Slut

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“This is quite a laddish show,” says Tim Key at one point. “I’m hoping to make poetry recitals the end of a lad’s night out, instead of a curry.” (“Wahey!” respond the male audience members.)

Welcome to Tim Key’s latest show. The general set-up will be familiar to anyone who’s seen him before: soft, low energy musings delivered with a twinkle designed to make the crowd slightly uncomfortable, interspersed with short, terrible poetry. (We have a theory about Key’s poetry, in that it’s his version of the one-line gag: set-up, punchline, move on.) The material focuses on sex: mainly the lack of it, not surprising given the clueless pulling techniques he describes.

But the act is a bit creepier than before. It’s partly the material, and partly becomes he comes across as less of a complete loser — he’s a film star nowadays, you know — and he seems to have found more confidence. His Edinburgh-winning Slutcracker show used all kinds of props, and he told us a few years ago:

“I need my shows to have a lot of stuff going on. All the elements are completely necessary. If there was less going on people would get bored and leave. If I was a brilliant stand-up I guess I’d keep it simpler.”

This time it’s just him and a bed on stage. (OK, there is one ‘element’, and rather an elegant and beautiful one, but it’s better if you don’t know what that is.) The general effect is of a man who might just show up at your door at 3.30am bearing chocolates and a flinty smile, taking ‘edgy’ comedy to a different level. Definitely a show that pushes at your comfort zones.

Tim Key: Single White Slut is at the Arcola Tent, Ashwin Street, Dalston, until 29 March. Tickets £20 / £17.50, some nights sold out. The show then moves to the Duchess Theatre off Aldwych, 28 April-2 May, tickets £20 / £18. Londonist paid to see this production.

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