Review: Jet Lag and Disappointment

Joe Richards 3 March 2017

When struck with the idea of a university student doing stand-up, images are conjured in my mind of abstract observational skits and a tumbleweed-laden theatres. Within the first thirty seconds of Jet Lag and Disappointment my opinion had completely changed. Projected onto the walls was a short home-made video montage that detailed Declan Amphlett’s life as a student at Cambridge, and a hilarious reflective satire of pretty much every student at Cambridge. Fast-forward to half-way through his year abroad in Paris, he comes to us with only the hardship of living in another country and a handful of frankly strange anecdotes about his travels in Europe.

The stand-up itself was a classically informal affair. The stage was set with only a stool, microphone, guitar and a small box of props, providing little indication of the variety of the act. The show was broken up with musical interludes featuring humorous songs on the guitar and peppered with puns, some hitting, some unfortunately falling flat. Despite the pre-prepared and sometimes forced gags, the funniest aspect was the person himself, talking about the last six months of his life. It was funny because he was genuinely funny; it felt less like a show and more like a chat with a friend in the pub. Even though at the end I realised just how organised and orchestrated the entire act had been, it still felt entirely relaxed.

The show is supposedly about his year abroad, something normally regarded as a wonderful experience which turned out to be a soul-destroying descent into loneliness, so by his own omission Amphlett spends most of his act talking about anything but his year abroad. It felt less like a standard comic set and more like a light-hearted delve into Declan Amphlett’s life. Yet, there were still some classic moments to be had that evoked raucous laughter; I daren’t spoil it, but one such observation that stuck in my mind being referring to the recent text-a-toastie as like having a “deliveroo driver that comes not with a bike but an agenda.”

For people who enjoy the likes of Josh Widdicombe and Russell Howard, this is a must-see while you still can. Although the performance had a few rough edges, and not every joke hit the mark, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining show, and Declan Amphlett has the makings of a brilliant stand-up comic.