The tone word for Jeff Green and his show, Personal From A to Z is ‘endearing’. If you don’t know the name, you’ll know the face, if not from his TV stand up appearances, then perhaps from Mock The Week or Have I Got News For You. Jeff Green has a gentle, friendly, apologetic voice, more youthful and innocent than his age, and for this he gets away with a healthy, if not overbearing degree of smut and cussing.
His relationship, wedding, child, past dalliances, work (gigging around the UK and worldwide) and holidays define this show, away from overtly surreal or political, your comedy bread and butter.
From A to Z isn’t a literal twenty-six chapter alphabetised gimmicky piece, and it won’t blow you away with anything vastly new, but it’s deeply likeable traditional humour with a good, consistent hit rate of chuckles and belly laughs.
His first job was in a fairground in Rhyl – “For people who think Blackpool’s a bit too la-di-da!” and even if you haven’t been there, well, the name of the town isn’t important – we’ve all probably visited or lived somewhere like that. I laughed, I nodded, I laughed and nodded, and that’s what you need.
There’s plenty of anecdotes, throwaway one liners and mild flights of fancy with a little audience interaction too. I loved a dissertation on the ability of women to tolerate scalding hot baths, coupon-obsessions, depressed dogs, and the only food available on a Sunday afternoon. I particularly loved his first (un)romantic experience at seventeen with a girl who practically abducted him from the ride, ravished him while he slid down the back of a sofa and then… what can only be described as cattus interruptus – vivid, laugh-out-loud, beautifully written and played with accomplished sense of pace and voice.
If there’s a flaw with this CD, it’s that the chapter breaks are a little heavy-handed, making the flow suffer a little bit – though this isn’t a reflection on the performer. The sound quality is fine, and on the packaging front, the sleeve art is nicely designed (nothing in the liner notes but a couple of pics). But it’s the content that’s important, and this is a very enjoyable comedy, old-school without feeling stale. Most importantly, I’d say it passes the replay value test, and there’s nothing particularly topical bar a mention of the pinch early on.
Running time – 58 minutes approx