I say, I say, I say: have you heard the one about the political comedy double act who are rarely seen together in public? You may be thinking of a certain Westminster-based pair (we couldn’t possibly comment) but we're referring to Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, the veteran comedy duo who host the acclaimed Radio 4 satirical The Now Show and, in Dennis’ case, appear on TV’s Outnumbered.
Whereas their first hit radio-then-TV show The Mary Whitehouse Experience was chiefly character-based, Punt and Dennis’ new live show, part of their We Should Get Out More tour, harks back to the more traditional formula used by Morecambe and Wise or Abbot and Costello with straight man and south Londoner Punt setting up and competing for attention with the effervescent north Londoner Dennis. One of the more endearing aspects of the show is how much Dennis is happy to entertain his own ideas as well as the audience, sometimes only being stopped by a stern interruption from his partner.
The show itself is a bit like minestrone with colourful set pieces swimming around in a broth of many smaller topical and improvised sections. The former are mostly successful with only the Cowboy Song (essentially an episode of That’s Life soundtracked by Sergio Leone) being especially meh. The improvised sections are a mixed bag. Pops at iPhone apps and Catholic paedophilia fall on stony ground and some of the observational comedy and anti-establishment pokes are straight out of the 1990s school of standup – do we still laugh at Prince Charles’ ears and gardening habits? – but the running gags and Punt’s pointed polemics are genuinely funny.
Overall, this show has more hits than misses. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be but we hope this pair will be around for some time yet. This was their only London date of their ten-week tour but details of other dates can be found here.