There has been no slogging round the club circuit for Jonathan Pie. This spoof news reporter sold out the Apollo twice this weekend thanks to his rapid-response online rants that regularly go viral. Whether it’s the weather or Brexit he delivers vitriol by the bucketload.
His latest live outing purports to be a pilot for a potential political TV series. The perma-angry Pie, persona created by actor Tom Walker, fancies himself as the new Robert Peston but with more manageable hair. Things soon look shaky. He immediately hates the childlike graphics that introduce his opening section.
But maybe childlike is apt, as there is nothing mature about his initial low-hanging fruit routines. Margaret Thatcher was so keen to sell everything she was basically Del Boy in a bouffant, he explains. Instead of subtlety there are jokes about Michael Gove’s face and Donald Trump’s spelling errors.
There is more original satirical punch, however, when he takes aim at Generation Snowflake with the aid of his “woke-a-lator”, skewering the current obsession with being offended. This builds neatly to Pie finding his career plans scuppered by a Twitter storm.
It is a smart, slightly Alan Partridge-esque idea, giving the show, co-written with stand-up Andrew Doyle, a strong finish as the media monster goes into youth-bashing mega-meltdown. While the humour is uneven in places, Walker’s performance is eminently watchable. What Pie lacks in nuance he definitely makes up for in volume.