Tom Stade – You're Welcome!
Spa Centre, Royal Leamington Spa, March 2016
Tom Stade would probably have been the kid at school that all the boys secretly wanted to be, all the girls secretly fancied, and of whom everyone was a little bit scared. He swaggers on stage swearing, laughing at his own off-stage announcement,- immediately the audience sits forward in their seats, what the hell is this guy going to say next?
What follows is a masterful delivery of seemingly randomly-occurring thoughts, accompanied by piercing observations regarding the frivolous nature of just about everything his ricocheting mind lands on at any one time. Of course, we are not fooled for a second, what seems arbitrary is obviously rehearsed, and what appears as uncharted territory has most certainly been well exploited by this formidable mind before, this being, after-all, one performance in the middle of a tour. Armed with the familiar arsenal any overseas comic can employ regarding the differences between the UK and their home country (in this case – Canada), he manages to labour exhaustingly over some of the pettiest areas of British life, repeating himself continually and somehow garnering laugh after laugh for delivering exactly the same line. Sound tedious? It emphatically is nothing of the kind, I don't know how he does it so well with so little material, but when I left the building my face was hurting from laughing so much.
Ownership, this is his style, it has worked well for him in the past, selling out in Edinburgh and prompting another extensive UK tour, and it works well now. He gives the impression of being completely in control of every aspect of his own life and probably of those around him too. If he told us to all to jump off a cliff just for the experience of it all I think several of us might be tempted. He does have a tendency to get carried away with the excesses to which his license-to-ridicule can go. Riding on the crest of his audience's wave of indulgent mirth, he skirts the fringes of some inappropriate material regarding national stereotypes and is very abruptly rude to some audience members. Banter? Maybe. But the fact is he doesn't need to get personal either with individuals or nations, his strongest and most endearing routines are both self-effacing and trivial, and part of our amusement is with ourselves when we suddenly realise we are laughing uproariously at what is essentially nothing at all, and that, right there, is the root of his genius.