Review: Rhys James at The Basement

This week the universe has not been on my side but my luck finally seemed to be changing when an opportunity arose for me to watch a comedy show on a gloomy Saturday night, well why not, laughing at someone else’s fate would make a change.


It is 7:30pm and eerily dark. Without the glowing clock on my phone I would have been fooled into thinking we were deep in the night. I am sodden and rather chilly but have made my way here, via a few questionable alleys and a quirky Google maps route. I brought snacks with me because as a student I can hardly afford to breathe, but I have splashed out on a vegan latte regardless of my money woes, because everyone knows even a budgeting student cant resist the lure of caffeine. A red bull would have also done the trick but I am not sure the current establishment would approve of such a beverage. 

First Half

I’ve got a great view, a nice cosy slice of the room and am ready to be entertained. Rhys James, although not a household name, is certainly a familiar face as he’s often on shows like Mock the Week. He introduced himself to the crowd and was obviously underwhelmed with the audience. 3 rows filled the room and peculiar crashes coming from the cinema above led to the overall experience of being in a pool table. He actively moved around the stage and interacted with the audience, repeating the theme of division in the room with; North and South, leave and remain, ‘proud labour’ and ‘shy conservative’, and millennials and boomers. The groups erupted from the audience, rivalries brewed and aggressive looks were thrown across the room, who’d have thought moments before we were a united audience? The binary identity options reflect many problems prevalent in our current society, particularly as the General Election sneaks up on us. He got laughs anyway, particularly when talking to a guy who had lived in several parts of the UK, the numerous stereotypes gave him plenty of material to joke about. 

York, according to Rhys, is drenched in drunks. Surprisingly he wasn’t talking about students staggering all over town, nor stag/ hen dos, he blamed it on Geordies on day release from Newcastle. The rivalry between Geordies and Yorkers is thriving based upon the delight of the Yorkers on the front row, a free cultural education is guaranteed with each show.

Last Half

After a short break of gentle chuckling amongst the audience, Rhy returned armed with a set stuffed with puns and one liners. After being slightly fixated on the ‘Bath Circle of Life’, he moved on to more quirky observations and misfortunes, with the occasional satire humour snuck in. He described the difficulties of buying Chrimbo gifts for his mum. He knew she liked pamper items, perhaps he should get her bath items… but what to get? I snorted when he revealed he planned to buy her a toaster, the dark humour shocks you all the more when it’s delivered by a guy who seems to have just escaped secondary school.

Post Show

Overall, Rhys captivated the audience and appealed to everyone there, despite the endless variations amongst us. He was witty, but not cheesy, and seemed like someone who would light up a Sunday afternoon at a pub. Thank you Rhys for an evening of chuckling and the occasional cackle, I’ll be sure to book a ticket for your next show.