Friday 22nd September
I have spent a lot of time in Leadmill over the years, too much time some said, but despite the myriad live performances and club nights I’ve attended, comedy at the Leadmill is a first for me and what better way to start off than with big ol’ cuddly Rob Delaney and his beautiful face…
Rob Delaney has moved away from the dubious honour of being the funniest man on Twitter to writing and starring in the inimitable Catastrophe as well as becoming an unofficial spokesman for the NHS following a family tragedy. This work in progress feels like a bit of a coup for the Leadmill and the place is packed well before the opening act takes to the stage.
New Zealand comic Alice Snedden was a name unfamiliar to me but her mix of bustling over confidence and self deprecation works well with a riff on the ridiculousness of caricature’s being particularly funny (‘I’d like to pay you to identify all the worst things about me and then expose them in the middle of a busy street so strangers can enjoy them as well’).
Delaney strides on stage soon after and, as always, just seems downright delighted at everything. He briefly mentions the climate strikes going on in Sheffield that day before settling into a tight hour-long set that sees the American performer talk candidly about fatherhood, politics and his recovery from alcoholism.
A breezy onstage confidence combined with an effortless likeability ensures that Delaney is never more than thirty seconds away from a big laugh and an unlikely segment on his reluctant love affair with a pet bearded dragon is a particular highlight (‘my life is basically just pushing locusts into it’s mouth while my skin peels off from the heat lamps’).
As this is a work in progress gig I’m loathe to go into too much detail in terms of the material, but suffice to say this already feels like a fully formed show that is ready to go. I might be wrong but if Delaney does much improv during this set he hides it very well.
Rob Delaney seems like the kind of guy who loves to sit on his sofa all day eating shitty food and watching shitty TV and in that respect, we are kindred spirits. I also just kind of want to give that guy a hug, you know? I bet it’s real safe in there. Anyway, let’s not get bogged down in all of that right now, instead let us appreciate a master of his craft delighting a room full on punters in the last throes of summer.
My first experience of comedy at the Leadmill has been a wholly positive one. I’ve a feeling it wont be my last…