Comedian Jason Manford has played some hot gigs in his time, no least Afghanistan and Dubai, but the Meres on Saturday night took some beating.
After a first half wearing jeans and long-sleeved shirt, the popular comic returned to the stage after the break sporting shorts, T-shirt and flip flops. After asking for some air conditioning at the start of the show, staff obliged by doing their best and opening a few fire doors which made no difference at all.
To Jason’s credit, a packed Meres audience was so esconced in the show, they didn’t wilt and lapped up the comedy.
The Meres show was one of the last on Jason’s ‘First World Problems’ tour which has taken in hundreds of dates. Not surprisingly, Grantham itself was Jason’s target to begin with. He put it into his SatNav and it didn’t know where it was. He asked how many members of the audience were from Grantham - most were from out of town and gave a much bigger cheer than the Granthamians. He asked a man in the first few rows what he did for a living. He said he was an estimator. It turned out this had something to do with carboard boxes. Jason had a field day with that. The banter with the audience produced some of the funniest moments.
Jason asked members of the audience to write down something during the break which they thought was a problem for them, but which would be thought of as trivial in the Third World. One man wrote that there were children in the Third World who walked 15 miles a day to get a bucket of water, but when he asked his children to go to the fridge to get him a beer they refused. A woman said she hated it when she couldn’t open her second packet of crisps because her fingers were too greasy from eating the first packet.
I could say this part of the show was where the cheap laughs came in, but the audience erupted into howls at some of the stuff they were hearing, including myself, so I can’t complain.
Critics describe Jason as a ‘genial’ host. And he is. It’s like being down the pub having a chat with your best mate. This was another fantastic show for The Meres Leisure centre. They are few and far between but let’s hope more successes like this will attract more big acts.