Published Jul 27, 2016Alan Carr, known to most in the UK as the host of popular BBC talk show Chatty Man, performed for his first Canadian audience at this year's Just For Laughs. He hasn't taken any pains to make himself known outside of Europe, but thanks to the availability of British panel shows on YouTube he was able to fill the modestly sized Salle Claude-Leveillee at Montreal's Place des Arts.
Carr was flamboyant and dramatic to the point of self-parody, which was not unexpected. Always on his toes, Carr went to great lengths to interact with the audience on a genuine level. He sought out troublemakers and those with an appetite for attention and he prodded them incessantly, which made for some of the highlights of his set. One audience member inevitably mentioned poutine, which Carr mispronounced ad nauseum, absolutely clueless as to what the curdy dish was. It was probably for the best that no one thought to fill him in.
Carr has a habit of meandering in conversation as well as in standup. He was hard to follow at times, given his apparent abhorrence of segues. Some stories — regarding going on safari, moving in with a significant other and the like — that could have been much funnier than they were got buried in a blur of asides, pacing and story-spoiling detours.
There was a fair amount of goodwill in the theatre. Alan Carr was visibly excited to try his new material in front of a Canadian audience, and many of his fans in the audience were eager to see a familiar face from far away. Nevertheless, Alan Carr's set was lacklustre. It was enjoyable in the moment, but unfortunately not memorable. Alan is an animated, gifted performer in the sense that every word he says seems to be coming from a place of casual, consequences-be-damned sincerity. However, his flightiness from one subject to another on a whim made it a little difficult to invest in whatever stories you hoped he might eventually wind his way back to.