Thomas Carvill, Contributor
Having been a regular at the Queen’s Comedy Club for over two years, it’s surprising that I had never crossed paths with Shane Todd prior to his sold-out show ‘Sick Bro’, at Mandela Hall on the 28th of October. My only previous exposure to the up-and-coming Holywood comedian was through his character Mike McGoldrick’s viral Dacebook videos. Despite not being a fan of character-based comedy, I wanted to give Todd a chance. I was not disappointed.
From the outset, the young comedian shows talent beyond his years. Managing to enthral with tales of 21st century death threats and appendectomy wounds opening on the set of CBBC shows, Todd showed no signs of the pressure resulting from the step-up in crowd size.
“When I was thinking about new venues we thought let’s just take a chance and book somewhere massive. It was a jump in capacity of 80 to 450! I would have been happy with half the tickets sold, and hoped for others buying tickets on the door- but selling it out before the night was an incredible! It also doubled the pressure I put on myself.”
Refreshingly for a student gig, I fail to recall a single instance in which Todd swore or made use of vulgar, shock humour. Instead, he employs relatable, family-friendly stories of his relationship with his father. A particular highlight being the routine about the pair’s visit to the MOT Centre, which is sure to have hit home with a majority of the audience. In fact, it is his brilliant use of local humour that perhaps stands out the most in Todd’s performance.
However, the set was not without issues. A lengthy section of the show, dedicated to dissecting the sinking of the titular ship in 1997 classic Titanic, lost momentum at times. Despite this, the routine still garnered laughs and was a minor low-point in an otherwise excellent show.
“I said on the night that it was the best night of my life and I meant it,” Todd said, speaking of his own performance, “I had so much adrenaline flowing once I got on stage that I can’t actually remember doing the show, it was a lovely blur.” He also paid tribute to the audience, “What I do remember is a great crowd who didn’t throw anything! Normally you get heckling, or phones going off at student type gigs but the crowd that night was probably the most well-mannered and respectful I’ve ever played to.”
Overall, Shane Todd displays phenomenal potential. Though there are still some rough edges to his set, it is clear he possesses the talent to smooth them out. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to see him at a smaller gig before he inevitably graduates to large-scale arena tours.