Andy Hamilton ‘Change Management’ @ Nottingham Playhouse

The auditorium is filled with 60s music, before the lights go down and the sound fades for Andy Hamilton’s entrance to the stage. The 5″3 comedian wanders up to the microphone, scratches his head and says: “now, I came in here for something, what was it?”

This innocently hilarious opening line set the tone for the rest of the show; a comedy show fuelled not by continuous controversial and offensive comments (bar the token Nazi Germany joke), but by stand-up which was funny.  Nothing more, nothing less.

The humility with which Andy Hamilton referred to himself as “that bloke from that thing”, and then asked the audience who hadn’t heard of him, displayed a lack of arrogance that too many famous figures today now unfortunately possess. A token brazen audience member who claimed to never have heard of him was greeted with the question; “you’ve come to see a one man show, without knowing the one man?” His name was then taken and “the gullible audience member” was referred to throughout the show.

“Did you know that last year 12 people were killed by selfies, and only 8 by sharks?”

As students watching a 61-year-old comedian, we were not surprised that many of the jokes were at our expense. “We’re heading for extinction”, Andy said, “because the youth of today have their eyes fixed firmly on their smart phones, and walk straight into traffic”. It didn’t end there. “Did you know that last year 12 people were killed by selfies, and only 8 by sharks?” Andy’s message of warning is, therefore: don’t take selfies, they contribute to the extinction of humanity.

It was not only teenagers who were ridiculed, however. Andy Hamilton made frequent references to how he was “getting on a bit”, and kept ‘checking his lines’, or indicating a bad memory through pauses: “my memory’s really…..errm…..oh what’s my memory doing again?”

There were, however, a few jokes with which many couldn’t identify. When stating that The Metro is free, yet we still feel cheated by it, there were a few laughs from around the auditorium, whilst many (like my Yorkshire housemate beside me) had never heard of this London newspaper. A joke better for London than Nottingham perhaps. References to specific Thatcher and Blair speeches would have gone over most students’ heads, as we naturally couldn’t remember having seen the live broadcasts. It is true Andy Hamilton style, of course, to launch political jokes. Jeremy Corbyn, in particular, became a target. At least he wasn’t described as thinking he was Jesus; the account Andy gave of Blair. Three guesses for which party he doesn’t support.

“There were, however, a few jokes with which many couldn’t identify”

Andy met his match when asking who in the audience had been hit by teachers at school, and how. Some called out board rubbers and pens, one informed the auditorium he’d been attacked with a running spike. Not something you see every day, and this even stumped Andy Hamilton!

Within Andy’s show, ‘Change Management’, was the comedic element (well, obviously), but also, a sombre recognition of reality. In defining change, Andy reminds us that not all change is progress and sometimes we get it wrong.


Isla Mclachlan

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