Carl Donnelly: Bad Man Tings

Warm is the adjective for Bad Man Tings, and not just because the room is too hot. Carl Donnelly, from minute one, is genial and placid. He speaks at length about his affinity for health fads, and his veganism, in terms quite unlike the stereotypical militant vegan – a demographic I’ve yet to see much evidence actually exists. He relates tales about his mates, a number of childish laughs he’s had in the last few months, and speaks pretty candidly about his past destructive tendencies.

It’s all just really rather nice, and Donnelly presents the best that observational comedy can offer. Comedy relies on skewed expectations, and comics who can show you the world through from their oddball perspective often succeed where others searching for that McIntyre-patented ‘relatable’ observation mostly fail. Donnelly nails this, and the show feels like a congenial tour through his brain.

He’s as good off-script as on, and plenty of his relaxed, but surprising audience interactions are as enjoyable as his practiced material. It’s impressive how much of a laugh he can get out of practically having a full conversation with someone halfway through the show.

Not every bit is great, and some have a feel of filler about them, but Donnelly’s childish charms carry him through less witty material. And sure, throughout the show there’s rarely any huge raucous laughs to be had, but there doesn’t really need to be, Donnelly’s inherently positive outlook makes him affable and funny company. It’s just a nice way to spend an hour.

★★★★

Keiran Burnett

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