Tony Law @ Studio Theatre

I’m getting a bit tired of comedy – and I’m not joking. It’s big business with comedy tours of epic proportions regularly filling large arenas, but I get the feeling that what I might pay to see in Sheffield City Hall one night, they’re seeing in countless other venues up and down the country. That’s not what I want. Stand-up comedy for me has to be spontaneous and edgy and a ‘you-had-to-be-there’ experience. Thank goodness then for Tony Law, a man who will restore your faith in an instant. Lots of comedians are described as ‘surreal’ or ‘stream of consciousness’, but no-one comes close to the experience of a night with Tony Law. The greatest revelation about his shows is the audience, and for two distinct reasons. The first is that there is always someone laughing the entire time, not necessarily at the same time as anyone else, but they’ve seen or heard something in what he has said, something no-one else spotted, that has them convulsed with laughter, whilst their neighbour merely chuckles, such is the incredible cascade of ideas and words that is a Tony Law show. The second remarkable thing about Tony’s audiences is that they keep coming back for more, despite what he admits have been some disjointed and baffling Sheffield shows in recent years.

To cut a long story short, he’s come through a drink and drugs detox, while continuing to perform live. When I first saw him he was easily one of the funniest acts I’d ever seen. Then came the distinctly less funny ‘detox’ period, but those of us who remained faithful can now reveal to the world that Tony Law is back to being an awesome force in comedy. So what is the show about? Is is stand-up? Performance? Storytelling? Was he actually a trampolining champion in the 70s? Did he really know Darth Vader when she was called Dorothy? I have no idea, and I don’t care. If you want real stand-up comedy, Tony Law is your man.

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