Jongleurs, Glasgow, Fri 4 & Sat 5 Jan
Reality TV has created many a pointless monster but it’s also attracted the already talented to show us what they’re made of. If you say ‘British comedian’ to the average American (whatever that may be), they will probably think of Mr Bean or Benny Hill, Eddie Izzard or Billy Connolly. They will also now think of Matt Kirshen, thanks to Last Comic Standing, a talent contest on NBC which aired last summer and pitted the wits of rising stand-ups against each other.
At the show’s peak, Kirshen was watched by eight million people as he made it to the final six having charmed the socks off both audiences and critics with material about his bad British accent and even worse luck with women. Initially wary of the reality TV format, he had insisted that it ‘felt like getting a massage from a burly man. I know it’s doing me good, but I still feel a bit dirty’.
While nowhere near a household name in Britain, his stock has been steadily rising since a Fringe debut in 2006 with Have You Seen This Boy? With his tender looks and spectacular grin, he has torn into targets such as the paedophiles who follow him around and TV quacks who peddle health and wellbeing on the back of a juicy contract. The fact that he has also been able to perform at James Campbell’s Comedy Club 4 Kids sets proves that Matt Kirshen’s appeal is far broader than the boozy hounds who populate the late-night comedy venues. Americans, kids and drunkards: they all love the guy.