Christopher Macarthur-Boyd puts a lot of other comedians to shame. Now that seems hyperbolic but let me qualify. How often have you been in a comedy show and realised you’ve not had a right good laugh for over a minute or two? Genuinely, look out for this if you haven’t consciously noticed it before: maybe they’re taking their time with getting to a punchline, maybe there’s some half-arsed filler laughs sprinkled throughout to tide the audience over, but the end result is that you’ve got a show spending a huge fraction of its runtime building up to outbursts of mirth. This isn’t a crime against comedy by any means, but it’s certainly not good enough for Macarthur-Boyd.
Boyd ensures that no spare moment lacks a laugh. To watch him do it, you’d think it comes easy but I’m not so sure. I think Boyd is actually an amazingly technical comedian. It’s not immediately obvious but Home Sweet Home is a show tightly honed to maintain comic momentum in the natural lulls of any stand-up show. Not every line can be a punchline after all. What this performance showcases expertly, though, is that every line can absolutely be funny. The best word I can find for it is holistic. It’s a weave of one-liners, anecdotes, observations, and physical comedy carefully designed to maximise time spent laughing and minimise time spent waiting for it. Jokes feed forward, link back, and tying it all together is Boyd himself, a hugely expressive performer who seems to innately understand the comic value of the human face. It’s this total commitment to the act of joking around that makes the show so special.
Boyd told us at the end that it was maybe his favourite show he’s ever done. Maybe he tells all the audiences that, but true or not, it certainly felt that way. His enthusiasm for his work is infectious, the precise negative of those comics who feel like they’re reciting a script. Maybe that enthusiasm will fade as the run continues, but I can only speak for the show that I saw, and the show I saw delivered more laughs in half its duration than a lot of others do in a whole set.
I could go on, but this is already too gushy. Home Sweet Home is endearing, intelligent, and I suspect the result of a lot of hard work. More than anything it’s just downright impressive. Don’t miss it.