Cementing his place as Britain’s most popular comedian, Michael McIntyre’s crowd lost none of their Happy and Glorious ferocity right through until his final humorous observations
Michael McIntyre, or Five Spice, as he satirically names himself, did not need to don the attire of the gothic or supernatural in order to leave me feeling contently drained of adrenaline on this year’s Hallowe’en.
The Manchester Arena was unwilling to keep its guests waiting and at the designated starting time of 8pm, support act Paul Tonkinson emerged from backstage to try to warm up an already-excited crowd. He began by gauging the average age range of the audience, stripping himself of his humorous considerations about each group. From the juvenile confidence of the 20 – 30 year olds, to the warm, contented laughter of the over-70s, just a little bit of his observations might too have been relatable and not simply amusing.
Paul, well-known for his work on The Big Breakfast and The Sunday Show, kept his 25-minute set clean and accessible, recalling the difficulties of a young son who has become embroiled in the world of rap music (and mannerism), before taking us on a don’t-look-away-or-you’ll-miss-it tour of his marriage. From the drunken antics of his wife to the undying love he has for her leadership in the house, Tonkinson was observant and almost sweet with his jokes, and his presence felt like an appropriate pre-act for the also-clean Michael McIntyre.
When the time came for Five Spice to ascend to the stage, a projector video cleared its voice and took us on a five minute recap of some of McIntyre’s funniest moments, such as his above-mentioned agnomen, the ‘PANTS DOWN!’ trick he plays on his children, the exhaustingly-funny imitation of a woman putting on tights for an evening out, and his infamous skip-run technique. The theatre’s lights had dimmed by this point, and when the projector’s homage-paying audience bellowed Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome Michael McIntyre! the man himself could be seen standing inside the erected tour title ‘Happy and Glorious’.
The tickets for this show delineated that 14-year-olds had to be accompanied by an adult, and Michael McIntyre’s first moment of hilarity came when, in the front row of the Manchester Arena, he spotted a young girl who turned out to be nine years old. Despite promising to be on his best behaviour, his Happy and Glorious performance seemed to include far more swear words than one might expect at a Michael McIntyre gig, with expletives being syringed into the audience in quite the same manner that he suggested using Calpol on children has only wondrous effects in calming them for…the entire day.
He joked about kids being glued to iPads and other technology; about his strangely muscular legs (which we were shown and permitted to linger with while he struggled to pull down his trouser legs); about the awkwardness of he and his wife both suffering from that old addage of “I slept funny”; before detailing the dark, rustic horrors of moving from inner-city London to the moonlit, nature-voiced British countryside.
Between imitating alien animal sounds, depicting the world’s most streetwise fox and suggesting that, if a burglar ever threatens the McIntyre family, then Michael’s best approach might be to confront the highwayman while naked and in a full-swinging Scottish accent, the UK’s biggest comedian did not disappoint on any level, and I would thoroughly recommend seeking out his continuing Happy and Glorious tour, if you have the opportunity.
Just ensure that you take with you some sutures for those split sides.