A couple of weeks ago The Velvet Onion was lucky enough to get the chance to talk to Dan Clark in advance of his new music-based show at the Soho Theatre. It sounded so darned good we just had to go and see it. Here’s what two of our Velveteers made of it all:
My favourite things that you can get from any Dan Clark show – on TV and stage – are the music, sing-alongs and that line between a purely hilarious song and a genuinely genius rock anthem. Everyone knows Clark for the somewhat tasteless ditties that Don Danbury would occasionally perform in How Not To Live Your Life, and they were of course delivered last night to a warming reception. Amongst the classics (‘I’m Dating A Mermaid’ and ‘Lions, Tigers, Hippos & Foul’, to name two) we got to rock-out to some brilliantly clever tunes.
With their slick band (referred to as ”the hottest band there has ever been”) the evening began in darkness, with red strobing lights and a dramatic bass hum as the band took to the stage. From that first moment it was guaranteed to be a different experience from most other comedy shows out there. Sandwiched between Specials-esque tunes and Coldplay-inspired ballads about dating Siamese twins, Clark bantered with the audience, of course picking out one front-row victim by the name of Harvey to refer back to throughout. It wouldn’t be a comedy show otherwise.
The show put me in mind of fondly-remembered nights at Clarks. With that much energy in one room (complete with a full-blown sing-along to Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On a Prayer) I think the audience could have been less Soho-basement-observers and reacted more. But I think it’s a show that needs to come back and knock London (and hopefully the rest of the UK) out of its seat. Overall an energetic and uber-fun show that I hope we’ll get the chance to see again!
Defining Dan Clark’s comedy is hard to do. It’s fun, funny, rude and silly, but what is it? Following Saturday night’s show and a somewhat innebriated debate about it on the way home, ‘observational comedy if life was lived on psychoactive drugs’ is as close as I’ve managed to get to tying it down.
Dan’s talent is to take themes that you recognise from everyday life, then stretch and twist them – and present them back in extreme, surreal form, so you see them in a fresh light: from losing one’s virginity to ambient 80s music, or googling your date the moment you return home, through to imagining what it would be like to wake up with amnesia if you were a transexual ( just think about it….!).
What sets Dan apart from a lot of other comedians is his ability to set these odd stories to seriously good, toe-tapping tunes which would stack up against much of XFM’s playlist – and to perform them brilliantly. This show was a proper music gig, complete with rawk guitar solos, robotic dance moves and the kind of synchronised guitar playing that resembled the Shadows on speed.
The audience, including Clark fans who had travelled from far and wide, lapped it up, and the band’s Mexican-esque Bon Jovi encore brought the preverbial house down. Terrific fun from an extremely likeable stage presence.