Review – Jon Richardson, Funny Magnet

Tuesday, April 17 2012

Jon Richardson remains very, very good indeed – but who was that sitting in row G, asks Ben Clover?

Jon Richardson

If you were going to see one living, working stand-up do an hour show before you were extradited to another country and potentially jailed, which would it be?

It’s a matter of taste, but if your first choice wasn’t Jon Richardson and, due to a mix-up, you ended up going to see him, you’d still have done well. As you heard the prison door close behind you, you’d think: “Well, I saw one of the best live stand-ups there was to see in one of the evenings I had as a free man.”

It would be awful to have thought: “Two weeks of liberty and I spent one of them listen to some guys do some hack-y bits where they pretend to have dyslexia as an excuse for puns, then they tortuously deconstructed their act as they went along, as if they were Stewart Lee, but with none of the structure, authority or wit.”

I only bring this up because I’m pretty sure it was Julian Assange I saw on Row G, downstairs at Richardson’s new show.

Who knows whether the Wikileaks founder will be extradited, if he is guilty or what he thought of the new show from the 29-year-old comic. What is for sure is that Funny Magnet was excellent.

In the best possible way, Jon Richardson hasn’t changed very much. The cheeky pixie king of stand-up and panel shows appears to still be the angst-ridden bundle of misanthropy he was when he was touring 2010’s Don’t Happy, Be Worry show.

He’s still light on his feet with brilliant material about everything from the minutiae to the life to the opposite of the minutiae of life. A gifted raconteur and excellent sayer-of-things to the audience, he really is at a very assured level these days.

The only things you could possibly hold against Funny Magnet are the title – a bit obvious and nothing to do with the show – and ever so slightly too much of his northern learning disabilities voice (which to be fair he uses for people regardless of their origin or level of learning disability.)

If the show is also slightly less themed than Don’t Happy, Be Worry the material is stronger. Aside from the generalised miasma of anxiety and dis-satisfaction, the only overlap with the earlier show is that DHBW featured a bit about cutting off John Terry’s little finger, whereas tonight’s has a bit on Roman Abramovich.

The only other thing that’s different if you’ve seen him before is some new showmanship at the end, which reminded me a bit of Bugsy Malone.

I think maybe what’s so great about him is his taste, he really does judge everything perfectly. There was a bit at the end where your heart sank and you thought: “No, not you, you’re better than that.” And he was! It was a set-up, phew, joyous.

Go and see for yourself, he really is very, very good indeed.

4.5 stars

Review written by Ben Clover

Jon Richardson will be appearing at the West End Apollo on September 9 to record his DVD, due for release November 19. Call the box office on 0844 482 9671 or visit


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