Comedy review: ‘Fake’ Londoners and fatherhood on witty rapper Doc Brown’s mind at Forum show

Rapper-turned-comedian Doc Brown

Rapper-turned-comedian Doc Brown - Credit: Archant

Rapper-turned-comedian Doc Brown has come a long way since his Hampstead School days, growing up in Willesden. Real name Ben Bailey Smith, younger brother to novelist Zadie, Brown is a rising star on the comedy and acting scene after turns on Ricky Gervais’ Derek, Russell Howard’s Good News and a regular gig on Law and Order: UK.

Despite this late-career success, the 37-year-old still seemed surprised that he had nearly managed to fill Kentish Town’s 1,200-seat Forum on Thursday (October 9) but on home turf, Brown was an assured presence in front of a large crowd.

His 90-minute set was almost devoid of the comedy raps which have earned him millions of hits on YouTube, yet his straight material was more than strong enough to keep his audience hooked throughout.

Attacks on “fake” Londoners who move to the capital from elsewhere in the country – this writer among them – inspire some of his sharpest lines, as well as one of only two rhymes on feeling like a gangster in the Cotswolds, performed without any backing music.

Fresh twist


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The mundanities of embarrassing ailments and fatherhood are given a fresh twist by Brown and provoke his only other rap on the “fast life” of the school run.

At times, insightful comments on the Jennifer Lawrence nude photo hacking scandal and his belated feminist awakening for his two daughters border on sentiment but Brown is able to revive the crowd just before things get too serious.

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An encore of his best-known rhymes Everybody’s Racist, My Proper Tea and Staring in the Fridge pulled back audience members filing for the exit and gave the night a rousing send-off.

A nod must go to support act Sean McLoughlin, whose brand of humorous self-deprecating misery on the realities of a struggling comic is sure to catapult him to future success.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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