By Jeremy Miles
Ambling on stage with a smile and a wink, Jim Davidson launched into the kind of stand-up act that once upon a time would have earned him a welter of red-top headlines.
Shooting from the lip, he blasted his way through material that careered from one taboo to another. This was not a show for the faint hearted. Needless to say the faint hearted had stayed at home.
As Jim riffed effortlessly on incontinence, the limbless, the obese, benefit seekers and ethnic minorities, the audience remained firmly on message. By the time he’d got his teeth (almost literally) into sex, he was firing on all cylinders and delving into areas that are completely out of bounds for the family newspaper I was reviewing for.
How could I tell readers that he had worked his way along the front row asking random women “Would you like to be able to lick your own fanny?”.... and then expected an answer.
His intimate and endlessly imaginative knowledge of the female genitalia appeared to be far greater than almost anyone I know, including a couple of consultant obstetricians. It would undoubtedly be his specialist subject should he ever find himself on Mastermind. It took up an extraordinary amount of the show.
Of course sex is the easy route to outrage. Davidson however packs an A to Z that encompasses almost every subject that provokes a sharp intake of breath. Several times it was a wonder that there was any oxygen left in the theatre at all. Dribbling cerebal palsy sufferers, maimed ex servicemen getting drunk while slurping alcohol from prosthetic legs, the fantasy of having sex with the headless body of a certain pin-up entertainer. Our Jim plumbs extraordinary depths.
Support act Lloyd Hollett played an impressive part in lowering the tone just enough for the main man to take over.
A little bit of a chip of the main block, he established within seconds that much of the material would concentrate on matters below the waist.
By the time he left the stage the audience was shock proof. Or at least it thought it was.
Davidson regularly bats away accusations of sexism and racism with practised ease and is such a skillful comedy performer that even his most shocking gags are very funny. That of course is down to delivery. Not content.
This show veered from the scatological to the political without missing a beat. Even a heartfelt tribute to Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging the Red Arrows pilot who lost his life after crashing following a performance at the Bournemouth Air Festival was tinged with black humour.
Musing over reports that Egging steered his stricken plane away from houses in the vicinity of nearby Throop, Davidson observed: “I don’t know why he didn’t just eject. It would only have killed a bunch inbreds and pikeys”
He was,of course. joking. And this was precisely his point. He told the audience that he knew the Red Arrows would be getting through this dark time in their lives by telling dodgy jokes,
But that’s Jim Davidson. His reputation goes before him. As long as people buy tickets to his shows, he’s not going to go away.