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February 2011

Stewart Francis Live: Tour de Francis

featuring: Stewart Francis

72 minutes (15) 2010
2Entertain DVD Region 2

RATING: 9/10
review by James A. Stewart

Stewart Francis Live: Tour de Francis

Stewart Francis is a UK-based Canadian comedian and, in his first DVD release, he hits us with an abundance of one-liners in the way I would imagine a joke machine-gun would work; that's if there was such a thing, which, of course, wouldn't be very practical anyway.

Francis will be a familiar face to fans of BBC's Mock The Week and in Tour de Francis there are a couple of 'heard that before' jokes. That said, the meteoric rise of the comedian and panel show combo over the last decade or so has given such exposure to comedians that by the time they release a DVD they have been trotting out a lot of the same stuff on TV for the year or so leading up to its release.

How Francis goes beyond his TV persona is down to his DVD being a just that bit more edgy and risqu� than his TV performances. In TV comedy terms, Frankie Boyle is the benchmark for inappropriate and guys like Milton Jones and Stewart Francis are the acceptable and uncouth face of the panel show. They are alternative and quick witted whereas Boyle can appear simply crass.

However, on the DVD, Francis is not scared to delve into areas some wouldn't expect to see him in; essentially mocking the afflicted. Interestingly, with the PC brigade having unparalleled reinforcements these days Francis has come under criticism for his jokes about the disabled. Whether this is tacit acceptance of him as a scathing comic or simply early signs on him having designs on being more controversial we wait to see. Either way, his DVD is extremely funny.

The jokes are generally very short, a la the aforementioned Jones, or Tim Vine. Like all comics of this type, you need to pay attention as he will inevitably land punch-lines offbeat and circle round to refer to previous jokes. In 72 minutes you'll hear over a hundred jokes. To give you a sample: "I quit my job at the helium gas factory. I didn't like being spoken to in that voice." And, "My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We'll see about that."

Francis is a quite remarkable performer. There are real laugh out moments in Tour de Francis and continual shoulder bopping mirth as the funnies come thick and fast. If you are fan of the one-liner, the quick-witted, and the type of comedian who commands an audience such that they want to laugh long and hard but are afraid to in case they miss the next joke then this is for you. If not, EastEnders is on at 8pm.

DVD extras include snippets of Francis' TV appearances.



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