Review Gary Delaney


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Review: Gary Delaney, Theatre Royal Winchester

Kevin Gover is still laughing, hours after seeing Gary on stage…

It’s a little after 1am on Saturday morning, and I notice that Gary has tweeted how much he loved doing this show on Friday evening, that the audience in Winchester had been really “up for it” and that it had been a huge success.

Rightly so. It contained the best joke I’ve ever heard (if you were there… answering the mobile phone), with the best ‘shocked’ reaction to go with it. No spoilers, you just had to be there.

I first ‘met’ Gary on a Live at the Apollo video, billed as a blockbuster simply because of the amount of one-liners in just a few minutes. I laughed my backside off and when I knew he was going to be in Winchester, I just had to be there. No relying on a press ticket, I bought my own. Good thing too, because it sold out days in advance.

There was no reason then why Gary would need to do an interview with us ahead of the show, but such is the nature of the man that he didn’t hesitate to talk to us: “It’s a pleasure. Yes, I know it’s sold out, but that’s fine with me!”

The thing that makes Gary successful is that he is a prolific writer and keeps churning out his observations of ordinary life: “I love language, I love writing one-liners about a language, and I listen to how people use the words.

“I listen to people talking on the radio for example. It works because the English language is so flexible. In fact, I’ve just got an idea for a new joke just from listening to my wife (Sarah Millican) say something in the kitchen.”

That’s not to say though that it works everywhere. Although Gary has a following around the world, that’s not necessarily the case in Berlin: “I went to do this show and got two laughs. Both from separate people. In a room of 400 people. I died horribly.  The English language is so versatile when you’re talking about word play… but it only works if the audience have a total grasp of the language and actually get the two meanings… the primary one and the surprise one.”

The ‘Gagster’s Paradise’ show has already been described as an “onslaught” of one-liners, and he sure is relentless. He feeds off the audience; a reaction to a little word shouted here and there – or a little laughter that carries on as if someone has only ‘just’ got the joke leads to a little wander off the path onto something else… then he’s back again.


This show is quite different than anything you may have already seen on Mock The Week or even Live at The Apollo. It’s MUCH ruder, and great fun. That’s not to say it’s entirely rude, because there are plenty of clean jokes as well. 

There was great banter, including interaction of “just how far he could go” with some of the jokes. That’s not to say that anything Gary does on Mock The Week isn’t as funny, or that some elements are similar. He says it’s a different format and although they have a little idea of what to expect when they’re recording the show, the conversation sometimes goes in a different direction and he has to rely on his back catalogue. That means sometimes having to remember ideas from 12 years ago.

The audience loved his delivery, his fake Wikipedia entries, the constant references to Basingstoke and the fact that he could still laugh at his own jokes, no matter how many times he’s told them. The show has been so successful that it’s now been extended to March next year.

Gary has also written extensively for TV and Radio including 8 Out Of 10 Cats and 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, A League Of Their Own, 10’Clock Live, The British Comedy Awards and The News Quiz: “I only keep for myself about 5% of what I write.”

It’s a credit then with all that output that I only recognised one joke from the Apollo video (the prostate one) – and that everything else was fresh: “It used to be case that you could get decades out of a joke… now you’re lucky to get 2 years out of a joke, if that. I’ve got to keep writing fresh material all the time.

“It’s all because of telly and online. It’s a game changer, but in a positive way. I don’t even have to be in fashion… I can record, edit and release something online for free. I don’t even need a broadcaster and can cut out the middle man.”

It’s a credit to the man that my eyes were stinging because of the laughing long before the interval… and long after too. Great fun. Oh, and you’ll never look at your ‘Henry’ vacuum cleaner in quite the same way again.

Missed out? Here’s where to see Gary next:


Wednesday 9th: Royal Spa Centre, Leamington  /  01926 334 418

Friday 11th:  Grimsby Auditorium  /  0300 300 0035

Thursday 17th: South Street Arts Centre, Reading  /  0118 960 6060

Friday 18th: Neeld Arts Centre, Chippenham  /  01249 446 699

Saturday 19th: Corn Hall, Diss  /  01379 652 241

Monday 21st: The Stand, Newcastle  /  0191 232 0707

Friday 25th: Norden Farm, Maidenhead  /  01628 788 997

Saturday 26th: Bloomsbury Theatre, London  /  020 3108 1000

Sunday 27th: The Little Civic Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton  /  0870320 7000

Thursday 31st: The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering   /  01536 414141


Saturday 2nd:The Civic Hall, Holmfirth /  01484 682643

Wednesday 6th: The Lighthouse Centre For The Arts, Poole /  01202 280000

Saturday 9th: ARC, Stockton /  01642 525199

Sunday 10th: John Godber Centre, Nottingham / 0115 963 9633

Sunday 17th: Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone  / 01622 758611

Thursday 21st: Hangers Farm Arts Centre, Totton  / 023 8066 7274