sun 14/07/2024

Lee Mack, Eventim Apollo | reviews, news & interviews

Lee Mack, Eventim Apollo

Lee Mack, Eventim Apollo

Amiable comic races through a disappointing set

Lee Mack is an old-fashioned comic in the best sense - telling well constructed, quickfire gags

The last time I saw Lee Mack live, my companion and I were literally in pain because we were laughing so much. It's perhaps unfair to expect a repeat of such a wonderful, life-affirming experience - live comedy is an ephemeral art, after all - but the comic doesn't appear to be even trying to achieve the same effect on his audience in his latest show, Hit the Road Mack, and this time we both left disappointed.

His 75-minute set - including a lengthy Q&A, almost always a sign of a shortage of material - is delivered at Mack's usual breakneck speed as he paces across the stage. The comic talks about life chez Mack, does some cod astrology readings, makes a deliberately poor attempt at having a joke for every hometown shouted out by the audience, and tries to woo a woman in the front row with some rubbish magic.

There's some unexpectedly gritty material among the fluff, with asides referencing waking up next to a prostitute or pretending to not want to be a dad (he's a father of three). But Mack has long since shored his reputation as one of the nicer guys in the comedy industry, so we know we’re safe to assume this is ironic, even if jokes occasionally sound a jarring or crude note  - and it reminds us that Mack (and I mean this as a compliment) is an old-fashioned comic. He was a Pontins bluecoat, the well constructed gags come thick and fast, and there are impersonations of Bruce Forsyth and Tommy Cooper in the mix. But even he can’t make “Next week, we’re celebrating two years of happy marriage… We’ve been married for 12” sound fresh.

There's a lot of guying of those in the front row, which Mack does with a wonderful combination of cruelty, mateyness and quickfire wit, and these segments throughout the show were its highlights. The rest of it, however, feels thin and underwritten.

Mack is entitled to make use of his hard-won and deserved fame from his BBC One sitcom Not Going Out and the excellent panel show Would I Lie to You? on the same channel, but to do so with such a weakly constructed show just seems lazy. And that’s a shame because he’s capable of much, much more.

  • Lee Mack is at Eventim Apollo, London W6 until 25 October; then touring until 22 December
There's some unexpectedly gritty material among the fluff


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters