Simon Amstell on tour
His stunned goldfish expression is perfect for silencing gormless celebrities on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but can Simon Amstell transfer his sharp wit and strange brand of nerdy anti-charisma to the stage?
Yes, if last year's Edinburgh festival was anything to go by. He was a sell-out, and promises to deliver more of the same when he brings his stand-up show to regional theatres this spring (April 25 - June 29).
The joy of watching Simon Amstell is his suicidal enthusiasm for insulting and irritating people and revelling in the social awkwardness and tension that result. Like an annoying younger brother, you can't work out whether you want to punch him in the ribs or cuddle him. And he plays on this, getting away with digs at the audience and other celebrities with a sly twinkle and a cheeky monkey grin.
The downside? Well, the material is sometimes a bit iffy. On TV, he is as quick as a hummingbird and this gives him an edge over his lunk-headed contestants and fellow panellists (especially Phil Jupitus, the comedy equivalent of an articulated lorry, who takes about 10 seconds to notice a joke, and another 10 to rev up and make it). But in stand-up, where honed, original writing is paramount, Simon Amstell can sometimes feel a bit more butter knife than scalpel. Worth a look though. If only to see the gleeful expression on his cheeky little face.