Calum Stewart barely glanced at the audience at all during his set supporting Tony Law, hiding behind his fringe and alternating between looking down at the floor or down at his notes scrawled on his hand. Normally, this lack of eye contact would mean a lack of connection with the audience, but here it only played up his persona as painfully shy and the laughs came as thick and fast as the clever one-liners.
Next up was Riordan DJ. It’s very clear to see why he won the Chortle Student Comedy Award. His set was cleverly worded and expertly crafted, constantly making in-jokes with the audience to call back. What was particularly impressive about DJ was his ability to stretch and build on jokes, taking an already funny joke and making it hilarious. He noted he looked like Harry Potter, but that that helped him get birds, mostly owls, but he’s still a head turner. With his timing and eye for wordplay, there’s no way Riordan DJ isn’t going to be a huge name in comedy.
Then came the main event, Mr Tony Law. Tony Law is difficult to describe. He doesn’t really do jokes – watching him perform is a bit like watching a very, very loosely structured schizophrenic episode – and he has an army of loyal followers who keep coming back for more.
The Wardrobe Theatre was packed out with those loyal Tonians on Tuesday, as was clear by the warmth and immediacy of the laughter as soon as he stepped on stage with his enormous beard and wild eyes, in what might have been a sailor costume. His material is quite amazingly silly, featuring anecdotes about his life as a time traveller (where he invented convoys and bantered with Genghis Khan), volunteering with bonobo monkeys (where he became their leader because he was the tallest) and of course discussing his career as a 1970s trampolinist.
Just in case that wasn’t absurd enough, Law also threw in a few aeroplane impressions, shouting “You need a reason to put airplane sounds in your show, Tone”, and early in the set removed his trousers to reveal a pair of extremely tight, extremely short, white, tasseled shorts, which he performed the rest of the show in. Why? Who knows? I doubt he even does, but it was hilarious, and that pretty much sums up the madness that is Tony Law.