Michael McIntyre is a rare thing: a modern comedian who can make me laugh. I’m not just talking about the odd chuckle or smirk, but a full-bodied, yet silent laugh that cramps up the stomach and refuses to let air into the lungs as tears roll down the cheeks.
His comedy is nowhere near as crude, vulgar, or over-reliant on profanity as so many of his contemporaries. Even if he does swear or venture into the bedroom, his accent, as he admits himself, is camp enough to enable him to get away with it.
Live and Laughing is the perfect introduction to McIntyre’s brand of humour. He begins with something we can all relate to: traffic. From driving on the motorway with a police car alongside, to being stuck on a country lane behind a tractor; the imagery that is conjured up in the mind is simply side-splitting, like some-thing you might see on a Top Gear challenge.
As a northern lass, I was intrigued by his take on the Geordie accent - although being from Sunderland, do not consider myself a Geordie -, which, according to him, has only one vowel. No prizes for guessing which one. This particular routine evoked memories of Bobby Pattinson, the Geordie accent extraordinaire, who incidentally, was the last person to make me laugh quite so hard.
McIntyre wonders at the point of having stewards to direct people to their seats on a plane, explains why no one can recognise their own mobile phone number, and why, in every house, there is a “man drawer”. You know: the one that has umpteen dead batteries, Allen keys, extension leads and expired foreign currency hoyed into it. Also, ladies; if you’re wondering why you are not allowed to venture into the loft, wonder no longer.
The subject of family life, as always, is one that is full of emotion, as well as humour. When he speaks of the joys and socially awkward moments in raising his two young boys, you can hear the affection in his voice. However the anecdotes play out like a scene from Malcolm in the Middle, making the McIntyre clan sound like the dysfunctional family from hell.
He has even came up with an ingenious solution to getting out of a situation in which you have unwittingly called someone within hearing distance a rude name…providing you do not have to be in an enclosed space with them for a long time afterwards.
However one thing I will hold against him is that he has ruined pineapples. All those years as a child I spent drinking pineapple juice in The Wheatsheaf at Embleton, not far from Keswick; all that innocence has been dashed to pieces.
Refreshingly and genuinely funny as Live and Laughing is, the one thing that lets this iTunes audio book down is the sound quality. It is tinny and echoic, giving it a rather old-fashioned ambience, as though it was recorded straight onto a video cassette (remember those?).
Yet, in such a time where phoning a real comic genius to brag about having sex with their granddaughter is considered funny, it is heartening to know that McIntyre is also out there as the perfect antidote for this generation. Long may he be that antidote.