sun 21/07/2024

Harry Hill, touring review - uneven madcap show | reviews, news & interviews

Harry Hill, touring review - uneven madcap show

Harry Hill, touring review - uneven madcap show

Pedigree Fun is his first tour in nine years

Harry Hill packs a lot in to his two-hour showAndy Hollingworth

It has been a long time since Harry Hill went on tour – 2013 – so one can assume that many of the youngsters in the multi-generational audience hadn't seen him perform live before, but were there because they know him from his deliriously funny television work, much of it available online. I hope they weren't disappointed – but I suspect, judging by the lack of laughter around me, that at least some were.

Hill is an endlessly inventive comic, and he had a slew of props on stage to deliver his gags – most of them utterly daft and beyond explanation – and a lot of Pedigree Fun is brilliantly, joyfully funny. He moves seemingly at random between visual gags and audience interaction to physical comedy and songs (and much else) – but this is all planned mayhem.

He says he doesn't do observational comedy, but Hill throws in the odd joke about how kids growing up in the 1970s were hard – unlike the present young generation with their soft-play areas – and guys them again by talking about how his generation have taken it all. In a two-hour show that packs a lot in, there are some dreadful puns too – talking about being pestered by a solar-panels salesman, he says: “I told him to stick them where the sun don't shine.”

A section about a baby elephant traumatised by a clown is wonderfully surreal, and Hill intermittently sneaks in a reel of very smart political gags about China's human rights abuses through the medium of bubble wrap (a first in comedy, surely) and there's a decent recurring joke about Bill Gates.

Another running gag fared less well. In a show with a lot of audience participation, the joke about identifying “tray bake or tear-and-share” pastry goods (or by extension people and animals we could describe as such) as pictures appeared on the large onstage screen was very funny the first time, but many quickly lost their appetite for it when it kept, er, repeating.

There were also a couple of missteps in Hill's interactions with women in the front row – a coarse insinuation about pubic hair, and a sour routine about married life – but there were moments of utter joy too.

Maybe there was just too much going on, or maybe Hill wasn't on top form, or maybe his absurdist comedy doesn't suit a large venue like G Live, where I saw Pedigree Fun – but for whatever reason the evening didn't scale the madcap heights we're used to.

A section about a baby elephant traumatised by a clown is wonderfully surreal


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