Tom Stade: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!
- Jay Richardson
- 19 March 2020
Playful yet dark cautionary tale from comedy's bad boy
Swaggering onstage, a self-declared 'comedy super god', Tom Stade still appears preternaturally handsome for his 50 years on the planet. But while he's reasonably blasé about coronavirus, showily smearing his face after pressing flesh with a man in the front row, a wake-up call last summer about his health and lifestyle has given him significant pause for thought.
Bullish, he'd chosen to judge his father's passing and grandmother's imminent departure from cancer as good deaths. Afforded sufficient warning to get their affairs in order and throw parties, the Canadian's own, more abrupt shock to his system has him worried about popping off with blurted last words. Worse though, would be if his wife dies first. A quarter of a century of marriage has left this irresponsible manchild entirely dependent on her.
All of which makes You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet! a playful, superior cautionary tale for the young. Appearing to set up dialogues with specific older punters and teenagers in the audience, though essentially seeking confirmation and contrast to his own experiences, Stade has started raging, somewhat wryly, against the dying of the light. The romance of being a hard-gigging, roadhog comic criss-crossing the land loses its patina of glamour as he apportions out his driving time in comfort breaks and bowel movements. However, as one of mainstream stand-up's evergreen bad boys, retaining a degree of edge, his observations about vending machines in service-station toilets inevitably encompass both the quotidian and the sexually freaky.
There's an element of grumpy old man shtick to his material, especially in his frustrations with his rebellious, grown-up kids. But it's shot through with wistfulness for an older, more renegade existence, as when he fantasises about being able to discipline his children with the physical punishment of bygone eras. The twinkle in his eye and tongue more-or-less-in-cheek are roguishly apparent.
That's a basic appreciation of Stade's material though. Amidst the ageing reflections, he offers some clever, wickedly dark musings on the existential angst and safety implications of car insurance. And he deploys a delightfully understated callback on his supposed Native American ancestry. Long may he ride.
Tom Stade: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet! tours until Wednesday 17 June. Seen at The Glee Club, Glasgow.