By Kathleen Walker
There’s a lot of ‘lads’ on the comedy scene, but thankfully, Ivo Graham is not one of them. As he openly admits, he’s an apologetic old-Etonian pupil, but there’s more to Ivo than his upper-crust voice would initially have you believe. Yes, he also went to Oxford, but he earned his comedy stripes from the age of 18 doing stand-up, before becoming the youngest winner of the So You Think You’re Funny award at the Edinburgh Fringe less than a year later. If you’ve been living under a comedic sized rock, you’ll have missed Ivo in the line up of Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle and Hypothetical amongst numerous Dave shows, to name just a few. But it’s not often you get to see the slightly more relaxed Ivo, where the politeness remains, but the fun really starts.
It’s refreshing to see someone comfortable enough with an audience that they will spend their entire first act chatting directly to the audience and actively engaging them in witty dialogue rather than simply utilising them to further their own agenda. He is genuinely interested in hearing about and conversing with others, as he assesses the room. Thursday night at the Glee Club was a real mixture of people in the audience, but it was worth Ivo’s efforts. A gentleman in the front row happened to mention wooing his fiancé using ‘Gangnam Style’ and guess what was instantly added to the interval playlist?… much to all our collective enjoyment.
Ivo guided us through the big decisions and moments in his life over the last year. Starting with his self-confessed highlight of 2018, getting to be in the driver’s carriage of a Chiltern Railways train, through to moving in with his girlfriend, now fiancé (spoiler alert!) and subsequent fatherhood. However, it’s not a slideshow, but a charming insight into angsts, doubts and worries that we will all have growing up, winning the audience over in shared experience. One of my highlights was the equality discussion about Thomas and Friends, which whilst not as good as the original series or the books (all agreed on that!), is at least now more diverse and a representative of now, leading to one of the best versions of #MeToo, but I will not ruin that pun – head to see the tour if you want to uncover that gem amongst others!
This thoughtful comedian has spent a lot of time pondering his life and six-year relationship, considering the steps that scare all of us along the way and advising how maybe to handle them, or not in some instances – his proposal story is another one to go and see the show for! You might think that if you didn’t go to an all-boys boarding school, then you would have nothing in common with Ivo, but you are wrong. It doesn’t matter what background you are
from, moving into adult life is scary and fraught with dimensions you never expected. His cleverness shines through in how he engages and threads his thoughts throughout the show to deliver a masterful finish resulting in the audience leaving to the Abba classic ‘Fernando’ – now you’re even more intrigued! One minute you’re at university enjoying single life, then you’re figuring out what kind of adult you want to become, before working out your own version of settling down and what shape that takes. It’s not always straightforward and Ivo makes you feel alright about that – recognising we’re all a bit weird, as he discovered in particular by chatting with the audience, is part of the fun of life. Whether it’s babysitting kids and getting stuck at a Go Ape adventure park or buying a fridge for your new flat, Ivo’s got stories to tell that we can all relate to.
It will be great to see where his next show about his newly discovered role as a parent takes