John Bishop embarked upon his first Arena Tour earlier this year. Finishing up with four dates in Dublin, Ireland he made it clear that if he couldn’t finish in his native Liverpool, it had to be his home from home, Dublin. Mark Roche of The Daily Shift was lucky enough to be in attendance…
Once an unassuming Medical Representative turned Comedian Extraordinaire; Liverpudlian, John Bishop has had a successful year to say the least. And while England celebrated a Diamond Jubilee and The London Olympics, both of which make the live material, Bishop’s own accomplishments provide a considerable chunk of his Roller Coaster set; assuredly entitled due to the journey that has taken him from being a Marketing and Sales assistant to International Arena Comedian.
Making an impressive entrance to the tune of ‘Voodoo People’ by The Prodigy, the stage is bedecked with a deranged clown face and helter skelter from which Bishop emerges from at various points throughout the gig; as he sits, perched in his tower at the beginning he laments the loss of his children’s youth.
I can’t go to playgrounds anymore, well, not if you work for the BBC…At least Saville could fix it for us to meet The Red Arrows; what do you get from yours? Communion!
The scouse comedian is not lacking in ‘offensive’ material, though rather than skirt around jokes insulting the BBC, ethnic groups and most major religions, Bishop delivers each with a charm that extinguishes any malice one could glean from; a distinguishing factor from an English comedian considering the amount of libel and controversy that has surrounded the heavyweights, recently.
The first half of the set allows John to settle into his opening night in Dublin in what can only be estimated, an almost entirely full house; close to the 9,500 capacity. His habit of richly detailed stories of an ordinary man are some of the funniest and most endearing one can hear and is surely, half the charm – the other half perhaps, boyish winks and giggles sending female members of the audience into fits – a completely relatable character, he shares the usual anecdotes of marriage and parenthood which featured in his previous tour, Sunshine to great effect.
As the interval ends we are met with ‘The Bish’ rather than John; the sporting side of Mr Bishop is certainly no secret and following his monumental achievements for Sports Relief and Soccer Aid, he shares his encounters with ‘A League of Their Own’s', James Cordon along with Freddie Flintoff, Jamie Redknapp and Michael Myers. As genius as his comedy is, a large part is believable and this is where the latter half of the set finds its strength. Following a very strong performance, John’s finale surprise, is perhaps one of the funniest of the night and demands to be seen in person. Leaving the stage to a standing ovation, John updated his Facebook with the following:
The only way to celebrate one of the best gigs of my life – Dublin O2 thank you – if God made a gig tonight was it !
Reasonably priced and cheek achingly funny; 2012 has been kind to John Bishop, we hope the same for 2013.
A certain number of tickets are still available for the show on Sunday, November 11. The Official Roller Coaster DVD is available from November, 12