views from the gods

saints and sinners of the stage and screen

The Camden Head
21st August 2012


A quick glance at his flyer and you could be forgiven for thinking hugely bequiffed David Morgan is simply the latest in the spate of cookie-cutter coverse-wearing, silly-haired funnymen. "You know, all those young comedians all called Russell," as Stewart Lee would have it.

But, as he reveals in this sublimely candid show, it's simply to detract attention from his disproportionately large forehead, the first of many things he dislikes about himself. The flamboyant - sorry, gay - performer uses his looks to frame a show largely about attractiveness, but also more generally about identity, slightly veering off-topic every now and again.

Morgan also notes that he's a bit sad gay people are so common now, as it makes them less special. But they still are an anomaly in mainstream comedy - the new women - with choices largely consisting of just the tired end-of-the-pier double entendre of Julian Clary, the now-cosy Graham Norton, the unbearable squalkings of Alan Carr and more thoughtful and introspective Simon Amstell. There seems to be two choices - extreme camp or playing it straight.

In this way, Morgan is a refreshing and incredibly special presence, taking his cue in context certainly from Amstell, but gunning his delivery at a million miles per hour, jamming into his set more gags (and importantly, more gags that land) than most. He has the habit of kicking his heels when particularly pleased with himself, but this is endearing rather than annoying and you can't help but remain constantly transfixed by his vital and vibrant patter.

In poorer hands, the subject could have been a series of unfortunate penis jokes or a chance to belittle the audience. But Morgan works the room confidently, interacting assuredly and delivering compliments. In particular, a great game of what is essentially Play Your Cards Right with hot male celebrities gives his improv room to shine.

The meat of the show is nicely self-analytical and, more importantly, self-aware, mixing some original observation with awkward anecdotes. A break-up story highlighting Morgan's ability, or lack thereof, to cope with strong emotions, will leave you breathless with laughter. And a throwaway routine about trying to pull a barman is increasing levels of silliness with a topper of a daft punchline. It's a consistently high quality and a testament to his ethic that, despite having heard a couple of the routines from him before, I laughed just as hard, if not harder, in this instance.

According to Heat Magazine, Morgan is one of the 15 hottest new hunks, a title he seems surprised at. But I can't imagine it will be long before he also places highly in lists of the country's top comics.

Pretty ran from 21st to 22nd August 2012, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Camden Town (Northern)

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