You could be forgiven for thinking that Jim Campbell was Mark Watson’s twin brother. With the same geeky, self-deprecating humour, Campbell describes his romantic short-comings, disconnection with teenagers and general peculiarity of the world in which we live. The premise of Jim Campbell: Nine-Year-Old Man is that the comedian’s coming-of-age, his 21st Birthday, was nine years ago, meaning that really, it’s about time he grew up. In a world of increasing arrested development, how can we be expected to mature and cope with the increasing responsibilities of adulthood?
Opening with the topic of relationships, Campbell treads well-worn, nonetheless resonating ground about dating and sex. He is a great story-teller, filling the show with brilliantly eloquent anecdotes. Whilst the instances of audience interaction were hilarious, there was some palpable cringing as some of his observations really hit a nerve. However, when anything did verge towards the risqué, he would rein it in quickly and return to a milder topic.
Campbell seems like a really nice guy. As a Creative Writing graduate and subsequently an unsuccessful writer, his way with words means that the hour-long show flies by whilst Campbell hardly pauses for breath. The sold-out show was well received by the audience, but more often with quiet chuckles than full-on belly-laughs. It was definitely enjoyable, but the topics and observations described always just seemed a bit safe.