Ray's Gigs

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Saturday 11 May 2024.

Saturday 11 May 2024. THE USELESS HOTLINE live at Shepherds Bush Empire. TikTok stars Max and George Clarke take their Spotify chart-topping podcast, The Useless Hotline out on the road. In their new career at a hotline service, they help callers by providing advice for their ridiculous queries. No topics are off limits and together, no matter how bizarre the situation, the boys will try to point you in the right-ish direction (or not in some cases). The Useless Hotline is a place to send your queries and dilemmas no matter how big, small, weird, or embarrassing. They can't guarantee good advice or that you will leave a changed person, but they can guarantee that this is a useless hotline. --------- Stalls seating tonight, and Level 3 is half empty so maybe a crowd of 700 or 800 here, and it's a 90 % excitable female crowd . Pretty good when you think their podcast only started 18 months ago, and they are on a nine date UK tour which includes a second show at this venue 18 May. A 90 mins show , over two sets of 45 mins each. The male duo - one straight and one very camp. The production is an office set-up with two desks with phones and computers, and a wall of filing cabinets. The first half included a bingo game and a shots drinking game with questions on their previous episodes. The second set had full audience participation . Two females faced ten questions based on the podcast, and then a few folks came on with their relationship issues. We had a couple of tracks of singing at the end. Mildly entertaining overall. -------------------------------- -------------------------------- Friday 10 May 2024. DANIEL O'REILLY live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Daniel O’Reilly is still boasting one of the largest, strongest, most loyal and fastest growing social media followings in the UK that his fans has grown up with him through the years. From losing it all, battling addiction and becoming a father he’s been on some rollercoaster, he has had many characters, but for this live show he's going ‘Out Of Character’ to stand up as he brings the laughs and looks back on the mischief, the mistakes and the madness of his career so far. ------------- It is stalls seating and 1000 folks sold out tonight. Pretty amazing for someone never on mainstream TV. Pretty much a rowdy , football fan type crowd who are drinking lots...75% male and 25% female. You have to be pretty open-minded to be here. Though he only resumed live shows relatively recently after his controversy in 2014 and subsequent substance addiction, he has since re-built his enormous social media following and is back with more energy than ever. His manager Kevin does a 15 mins routine then Daniel does two sets of 40 mins and 60 mins. O’Reilly’s manager Kevin is first to step on stage – he explains in humorous anecdotes the nightmare it is to manage Dan, with the latter’s tendency to tilt towards the edgier sides of comedy – a habit he still retains to this day. He appeals to front row audience members frequently with comments and asides, joshing with them and producing some big laughs which sweep across the venues’s different levels.Kevin cue’s Dan’s entrance. O’Reilly carries himself with confidence and warmth as he tells us he’s ecstatic to be back on the comedy circuit again. We can’t help but absorb his infectious enthusiasm. His act begins with a sense of self-awareness and a knowingness of his history of controversy. To the side of the stage behind decks stands Carlos, Dan’s music man, whom he says will fill the silence of distaste should he tell a joke that, God forbid, goes too far. He uses his cancellation in 2014 to his advantage – the elephant in the room is entirely addressed in many moments of self-deprecation. While admitting his own instances of idiocy, he also pokes fun at ITV for replacing his ‘sexist and objectifying’ series with Naked Attraction. Dan’s personal life has been far from a smooth ride. He leans heavily into stories from his drug addicted self, arousing massive torrents of laughter from everyone, but also being careful not to advertise the lifestyle. At this sequence, we begin to see O’Reilly’s fantastic use of body and movement, helped by his boxing training, which, in tandem with his myriad impressions of his wife, produce funny tales of less than sober ‘interactions’ he has had with her. It's his domestic life that provides most of the content for his show, his kids and again, his famously ‘northern wife’, with the odd tangent into cocaine charged come downs and subsequent rehabilitation. A phrase he hates but now lives by - he is ‘high on life.’ (No, he is not now an ice bath fanatic, nor a dreaded cyclist). O’Reilly never lost the attention of the audience throughout his set. Answering almost every time to excitable front row fans, he even invited people sitting up in the upper levels to fill seats nearer to the stage. He is brilliantly quick off the cuff when confronted with the often bizarre comments offered by some audience members. Unafraid to ‘work off script’ at these moments, Dan tells his manager off stage to close his ears. Later, he makes it clear in his own words that he doesn’t subscribe to ‘snowflake’ comedy – an act of censorship that he says supresses the best of standup. Dan ends his set with a heartfelt thank you, not only to his audience, but for his luck. He’s eighteen months sober, just had his third child, and back on stage. The venue gives him a full standing ovation. Someone said he is a bit like a Roy 'Chubby' Brown for a younger generation, which is in the right vein. A very enjoyable show.