Mr Hughes’ choice of support act turns out to be a wise one: Joe Tiernan is a feisty, energetic Edinburghian (is that a word?).
He regales the Rondo audience with 25 minutes of fast-fire expert jokiness on subjects as varied as getting old (at 30!); the difficulties of peeling ready meal wrappers; what “scientists say” according to the tabloids; the size of a whale’s clitoris (!); and much more. A great start to the evening.
Your man Steve himself has a more leisurely delivery, often mumbling semi-audibly, with pauses to make grimaces at us – but he does have a very good ear for how to time a punchline, and the audience, clearly made up mostly of long-time fans, respond enthusiastically and often.
The style is part-confessional – about his mental health problems, suicidal ideation, and drug abuse; and part politico-religious preachifying on ‘political correctness’, gender politics, or astrology and shamanism.
The rambling approach, though, does make for a long-drawn-out evening, and as the astrological and shamanistic dottiness increases, and the punchlines get less frequent, this critic at least starts to favour a John McEnroe response to the question in the title of the show: and, after an uninterrupted hour-and-a-half of this stuff shows no sign of drawing to a conclusion, decides to call it a day.
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Star rating: ***