Hal Cruttenden Chubster review

PUBLISHED: 17:05 20 March 2019

Hal Cruttenden      picture: Steve Ullathorne

Hal Cruttenden picture: Steve Ullathorne

www.steveullathorne.com

Technical difficulties and a tiny stage did nothing to hold back the brilliant Hal Cruttenden during an intimate performance at Bristol’s Anson Rooms, on Friday.

It’s not every day you see a chubby middle-aged man prancing across a stage the size of a postage stamp to Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen.

The hilariously straight-faced opening routine and the title of the show Chubster came from the comedian’s daughters who he describes as beautiful on the outside but twisted on the inside.

The surprisingly intimate venue, Cruttenden complained is the kind of venue he played before he got so much TV work, he complains, but you can tell he’s having a ball as he gleefully reveals his ambitions to be sent to Africa for Red Nose Day, but worries he wouldn’t be able to hold back the joy of making it, in spite of the misery that will surround him: “Get out the way kids you’re blocking the shot.”

Despite his genial, almost cuddly facade, Cruttenden has no problem tackling dark subjects like his obsession with death, the appropriation of grief at the death of celebrities, inappropriate age differences in relationships, and violence against women.

Whether he’s talking about rugby or racism Cruttenden introduces each new topic with the same cheeky grin, gleefully pushes the boundaries of what you can say about it until someone takes offence.

One spectacular run saw him find a solution to mass shootings and most acts of violence which are almost exclusively carried out by men, by not only making guns sound less sexy “anyone want to own a tiny penis?” and by only letting women carry weapons. He then suggested they be able to indiscriminately kill men, and only stopping when he hears audible teeth suck from the audience after he suggests that men will still have to do all the driving on these murderous rampages.

Throughout the show Cruttenden also drew attention to the fact he shouldn’t make jokes about his Northern Irish wife anymore, before letting one slip, and then another, before concluding with a routine that drags out every possible lazy cliché he can think of. It’s not racist, he assures the audience, it just feels that way.

However, it’s Cruttenden’s innate charm which saves him from stepping on anyone’s toes proper, especially when engaging with the audience.

At one point playfully teasing a University of West England student by saying she’s ‘doing her best,’ jousting with a drunk, heckling an English student and then bemoaned his daughters’ decision to study art, and drama at university when he discovers the couple in the front row are the parents of a Coventry City player, and a doctor in the middle of a skit about his family.

With Brexit days away it was inevitable that it would come up, and as part of the ‘metropolitan liberal elite’ that all remainers are, Cruttenden suggested that leave voters should bear the brunt of the fallout from Brexit, by being given exactly what they asked for.

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