On Saturday 30th November 2019, I went to the matinee performance of Jack Whitehall: Stood Up in the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and left with my cheeks hurting from the laughter. I was disappointed to read the scathing reviews of the tour; the Guardian gave it one star saying, “The comic, who doesn’t seem to have any interest in people or the world, puts on a weak show with anecdotes that ring untrue”. The Metro gave it two stars and Chortle only 2 and a half.
So, let’s put the record straight…
The Jack Whitehall: Stood Up show started with the room’s lights being dimmed and Jack and his hilarious father, Michael Whitehall, talking to each other on a pre-recording. With localised jokes of Michael not staying for the show and heading to Churchill Way – it must be upmarket to be named after such an esteemed gentleman, and that he was looking forward to sampling the extensive wine list in Pulse. (For those who don’t know, Pulse is a busy LGBT bar with low priced drink offers.)
The stage then lit up with a cast of 10 or so dancers to the soundtrack fo the Greatest Showman. Jack jumps onto the stage and joins in the dance routine. There was also acrobatics, dressed to look like Jack is somersaulting across the stage. Topped off with fireworks, the show started with a bang.
If you were attending the show not knowing who Jack Whitehall is, and anything he has done before, you may have been a bit lost. He does talk about the TV show, Travels With My Father, and builds on jokes that have been used in previous shows, especially being overshadowed at school productions against his classmate Robert Pattinson. He was so unhappy not to have a part in the school nativity, after getting his dad to complain, a part was created for him – an Emu. Like Jack says, would an Australian land bird be in Nazareth?
During the show, he makes digs at half-marathon runners, vegans “there are 12 different types of substitute milk now, which I would argue is 11 too many”, which I completely agree with – I can’t even drink half of them being intolerant to nuts – and he’s posh persona being lost on Americans. He also made a lot of observational hotel jokes. Working in that industry hearing complaints of the ‘conveyor belt toaster’ daily is funny, and we all laugh about the stupidity signs that have to go up everywhere.
Spoiler alert – the end of the show
I did not want to spoil the ending for those who have booked to see the tour. Playing on the Emu in the Nativity joke, Jack ends the performance by becoming the star of the show, dressed in an 8 foot Emu suit. The dancers were back, with props of yearly festive set up we are used to seeing at a school play. He even flew above the stage on a harness, ending on a real high note!
I enjoyed the show. Some of the punch lines were predictable but funny nonetheless. The endearing personality doesn’t have to do stand up shows; he has established himself as a TV favourite and even has managed to bag some decent acting roles. It is obvious that comedy is his passion. He divides opinion, but for me, my ticket money was well spent.
The Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
I have to note that even though we turned up and were in our seats at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff about 30 minutes before the show started, we were nearly moved on. The couple, who ended up sitting next to us, had the exact same row seats and ticket number. Both of us had bought direct, so you couldn’t even blame dodgy ticket sites. The guests who were also supposed to be in those seats turned up just as Jack was supposed to come on stage, and were busy faffing with a steward during the support act. Luckily, they got moved elsewhere instead of us. Being late November, I didn’t fancy grabbing all of the layers I’d removed, plus my handbag and two pinter drink.