“I hear there’s a reviewer in the audience”, said the stand-up menacingly. “Well, he’d better give me f—ing five stars – at least!” This reviewer is happy to oblige. The sixty minutes he spent last night in the small, cabaret-style studio in Soho were all too short. This is the best stand-up comedy you’re likely to hear for a very long time.
Sean McLoughlin is at the start of a nationwide tour: only two nights at the Soho Theatre, but plenty of other venues around the country. Catch him if you can. The title of his tour, Hail Mary, might suggest that religion comes into it, which it does. But there is much more than that. What’s special about Mr McLoughlin’s act is the structure, a feature which he modestly pointed out himself. You know the way that stand-up comedians veer from one topic to another, and at the end, you don’t get any sense of an integrated whole? Mr McLoughlin appears to be doing the same, but the bits do get connected up, strands are drawn together, and the performance ends with a striking juxtaposition of earlier themes that is most satisfying.
Mr McLoughlin has an unerring eye for the absurdities of modern life, and he tackles some of the serious issues of our time, such as the omnipotence and omniscience of the Internet and the tech companies. But in case this sounds earnest, rest assured that Mr McLoughlin is not. He really is funny (and rude), and very engaged with the audience. I found his performance good exercise for both brain and belly. It made me think, and it made me laugh. Now that’s a good combination. No wonder last night’s show was a sell-out!