The career trajectories of most comics goes from years of playing depressingly small venues, to decent theatres and finally telly. For Matt Richardson, things have been a little different.
After only a couple of years as a jobbing comedian he got the gig hosting X-Factor spin off show the The Xtra Factor – and while it may only be ITV2, it’s still television.
On Thursday though he was back doing his apprenticeship at the Norwich Playhouse before a half-capacity audience that, to his own admission, was triple of some of the turnouts on his Hometown Hero tour.
Richardson cuts a likeable character: he’s eloquent, alert and kind of cute in that slightly goofy 22-year-old way. His age, though, is his biggest challenge; observational comedy needs to be based on, well, observation, and there’s only so much traction you can get from an adult audience when your material is based on living with your parents and hoping for days off school.
He is a good story teller and he has a nice line in subtly placed digs and puns, it’s just a shame some of them are too subtly placed for the audience to find them. There is a craft to comedy, and Richardson still needs to learn how to get the most out of his material so that he goes beyond gently tickling his audience to making them laugh so hard it hurts.
There’s promise there, but so far he’s in paper cut territory.