It’s been a meteoric rise. A year ago hardly anyone had heard of Michael McIntyre – now he seems to have become Britain’s favourite stand-up comedian.
The BBC is repeating The Michael McIntyre Comedy Roadshow which follows the comedian travelling round the country introducing various different acts. Not so long ago we had Live At The Apollo, showcasing stand-up comics performing at the Hammersmith Apollo. Michael was the most popular in that line-up.
He also made guest appearances in the BBC’s most popular comedy panel quizzes, Have I Got News for You and Mock The Week. He was a huge hit on the former with some well-aimed mockery at Jeremy Clarkson who was hosting the show that week. That went down very well. Michael was quickly finding his way to the nation’s heart.
He has an interesting background. His father was a gag writer for Kenny Everett, the 1980s comedian. His mother was a dancer and he actually combines both elements of his parents talents – not only is he a brilliant observational comedian, he is also a pretty good dancer!
Although he is called a stand up comedian, he spends very little time just standing. Physical comedy is part of his show and his appeal. He bounces onto the stage like Tigger, skipping and twirling. His joy and ebullience are infectious – the audiences love him. He is sweet, funny, non-threatening and non-aggressive. He is even an unlikely sex symbol among some women.
His humour is made up of spot-on observational comedy. He talks about the stresses we all face such as being on a crowded tube train in London, having to drive really slowly on the road behind a tractor in the country (‘I don’t drive in front of them at 5mph when they’re ploughing’), or dealing with aggressive people at the airport queue. He takes us through all the contents of the ‘man drawer’ that drawer where we put our light bulbs, old keys, instructions for appliances we no longer own and foreign currency. Everything he mentions hits a comical nerve.
Michael talks a great deal about his wife and two small sons, about his physical appearance (he is stout and rather Chinese looking) and other personal observations such as his posh Southern accent and slightly camp demeanour. He said in an interview that he hoped he would end up on BBC2, starring in quirky independent comedies. But friends told he wasn’t cool, he was a tea-time, early evening Saturday comedian not an indie rebel.
Michael started his career playing clubs such as the Comedy Store, a small London venue. But his latest live tour has reportedly earned him £10 million and he plays to 10,000-strong audiences. He will probably be the BBC1 comedian of choice for some time to come and he may even end up as a national treasure. Will he mind? Probably not.