Quite early on in Disasterpiece, Sy Thomas produces a flip-chart displaying feedback he’s received over the years from casting directors: ‘loveable loser’, or just ‘loser’, ‘losing his hair and his mind’… Now, self deprecation is something that many comedians attempt to do but few get just right – a lot of times it seems like a convenient artifice or else it can descend into maudlin self-pity. The same goes for likeability – which is a bit like being genuine – fake that and you’ll go far. The beauty of Sy though is that he’s genuinely likeable and genuinely funny.
Disasterpiece – as the title suggests – doesn’t set out to be super-slick but neither is it a shambling mess. From the very start, with Sy inviting the audience into the room like we’re old friends, seeing to ‘the housekeeping’ and making sure our thermal comfort is OK, we knew we were in safe – and very professional – hands. As well as the flip-chart set-piece (which has a neat, uplifting resolution at the end) there are jokes aplenty about Sy’s slender frame, his disappointing career and love-life to date and borderline paranoia about certain things (his routines about having to view nauseating public displays of affection or thinking that a cat lured him into the long grass in order to ruin his trainers are some examples of the many good things on offer).
Sy Thomas is one of those performers with a solid background of working in kids TV and generally as a jobbing actor. He does mention that stand-up is a bit of a branch-out for him but from this demonstration it’s something he should definitely keep doing. Sy+ (Pravda, Espionage 14.30 until 24th Aug) and Disasterpiece (The Counting House @ 18.45 until 24 Aug)