REVIEW: Gary Delaney treats Christ’s Hospital to well-crafted one-liners

Stand-up comedian Gary Delaney
Stand-up comedian Gary Delaney

There’s Something About Gary, Gary Delaney and Caimh McDonnell at Christ’s Hospital Theatre, Horsham, March 16

Many comedians these days like to pick a theme for their live shows.

They talk about their obsessions, their upbringing, certain social trends, or they’ll use their stand-up to respond to whatever’s currently happening in politics.

I’m not against this at all. I like it when an amusing stand-up also gives me something to think about.

But sometimes I just want to have a laugh and I often worry that some comedians are taking themselves a little too seriously.

Thank goodness then for Gary Delaney and Caimh McDonnell.

These guys might be incapable of taking themselves seriously, or choosing a clearly defined theme, and it seems to be exactly what their Christ’s Hospital audience wants.

Caimh, a self-described white-haired Irishman who looks like Father Ted, is a delight from start to finish in his support slot.

His sentences may be punctuated by swear words, but he’s so jolly and likeable that his humour just ends up feeling innocent and not coarse at all.

Caimh has some nice interactions with his audience – particularly with one girl from Denmark – but his best moments come from his anecdotes.

His bizarre encounter with an American woman makes a good tale and shows how people can trip themselves up (repeatedly) by making huge generalisations about others.

His story about almost being mugged is better though. With a wry but matter-of-fact tone, Caimh reveals what happens when a skinny would-be thief tries to snatch a bag that’s attached to a tall, overweight man.

After a quick break it’s time for Gary Delaney’s headline set.

Gary’s style is less anecdotal than Caimh’s, relying heavily on well-crafted one-liners and witty sight gags projected onto a screen.

His delivery is similar though. It’s silly, upbeat and disjointed in a good way, and Gary can’t resist laughing at his own jokes.

The Horsham audience gets puns, half-puns, funny tweets, ridiculous Wikipedia entries and some unsurprising but self-aware digs at Crawley.

In fact, the self-awareness is a significant part of what Gary does. He acknowledges that his only reason for making a quip about a ‘rival’ town is to get the current audience on his side.

He even brings out a couple of clipboards towards the end of the evening. One clipboard contains the cleaner material and the other offers the kind of jokes that get groans rather than laughs. Gary ends up reading them both, of course, commenting on the audience’s reaction as the one-liners start to make people cringe.

I’d like to go into more detail about the content of the show, but the gags are so diverse, snappy and stand-alone that I’d run the risk of spoiling the punchlines for future audiences.

And as I said there isn’t really an overall theme to this show that I could convey to readers.

There’s just an unwavering commitment to making people laugh and keeping everyone in a constant state of surprise.

Visit to find out more about Caimh McDonnell or to find out more about Gary Delaney.

Click here to see what else is on at Christ’s Hospital Theatre.

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