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Review: Defending The Caveman

I went to see Defending The Caveman in Glasgow last night, courtesy of a promoter who gets this whole blogging thing. It was… OK. Not great, not terrible. OK.

The show starts with a chorus of girls chanting that men are “arseholes”, and over the next 90-odd minutes John Glyde attempts to defend the male gender. We’re not arseholes; we’re just different. Men are hunters, women are gatherers, and the difficulties we have in understanding one another are simply because we’re wired differently. Cue lots of stuff about men do this, women do that.

Glyde does a good job, but he’s hamstrung by venue problems (terrible acoustics, a mic that seems to die after about ten minutes and doesn’t get resurrected until after the interval, a bunch of idiots – of both genders – chatting loudly near the bar) and script problems. The first ten to fifteen minutes are really tedious, and the central conceit – John’s been booted out by his wife because he’s an arsehole; he feels aggrieved because he’s not an arsehole, just a prisoner of his caveman programming – is pretty flimsy.

The big problem with Defending The Caveman, though, is that it’s not that funny or insightful. Compress the gags into a 3,000 word magazine article and you’d have an amusing if largely predictable bit of “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” people-watching, but over 90 minutes the material feels stretched.

It doesn’t help that we’re dealing with familiar territory, either – it’s the territory of most stand-up, which handles this kind of material in a much funnier way. For example, when I got home I was channel-flicking and ended up watching Ardal O’Hanlon doing his thing on one of the comedy channels. When he talked about his relationship with his wife he crammed more laughs into three minutes than Caveman managed in an hour and a half.