"Any rozzers in? Any filth?" Last week Joe Lycett revealed that he had been questioned by police after an audience member in Belfast complained about a joke. The file was promptly closed and the comedian had the proverbial last laugh during his London run by sarcastically checking if he was under surveillance. And also by repeating the joke.
The Brummie stand-up has made a name for himself as a campaigner for consumer rights, hosting Channel 4’s Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, and there is a strong motif of fighting for justice in this playful, uplifting show, entitled More, More, More! How Do You Lycett? How Do You Lycett? He says the title was foisted on him by his agent, but it is hard to imagine anything being foisted upon this forceful 33-year-old.
A large chunk of his set was given over to recounting some of his most subversive recent stunts, such as changing his name by deed poll to Hugo Boss to troll the clothing brand and leaking his version of Sue Gray’s Partygate report. His parody investigation said there was a Whatsapp group that arranged gatherings called “Down It Street" and reportedly caused panic among Tories who believed it.
Elsewhere, aided by powerpoint presentation where required, he chatted about his quirky art sideline, revealed how he blagged a free fizzy drinks dispenser by being a smutty influencer, and recalled how his blatantly ironic support for the PM on social media was retweeted by Nadine Dorries. A sweet little running gag about a spat with Alan Sugar was the icing on the comedy cake.
Eventually he got to the joke that prompted that call to the police. We will not reveal the details except to mention that it did involve some ridiculously doctored footage of the star as a naked child which had already been cleared by his lawyers. Anyone who felt driven to complain was clearly not familiar with Lycett’s penchant for puerile humour. Or the concept of humour in general.
In fact at the comedian’s polite behest, this is very much a spoiler-free review. The latter part of the evening is the tale of a long-form prank-with-a-purpose that is somewhere between elaborate sting and consciousness-raising project. It had members of the audience and the performer himself shedding a tear.
While some of the stories might be a shade familiar to devotees, this is a great show, neatly structured so that everything is exquisitely tied together, with extra surprises thrown in for good measure. Lycett may no longer be called Hugo Boss, but when it comes to comedy with a message he is still very much the boss.
Joe Lycett is playing OVO Arena Wembley on September 22 and 23 joelycett.com