Gag merchant Milton Jones has been a mainstay of Britain’s stand-up circuit for quite some time now, though it took a number of years before he graduated to playing rooms the size of Warwick Arts Centre‘s Butterworth Hall. A deserved beneficiary of a television boost, thanks to his regular appearances on the long-running panel show Mock the Week, his relentless stream of perfectly-formed one-liners have won him a large following.
Before his belated TV exposure, though, Jones has been entertaining Radio 4 listeners for many years with his joke-packed sitcom series, and of course his frequent touring schedule is now as anticipated as his wild hair and brightly-patterned shirts.
Midlands comic Chris Stokes provided support and while his approach to stand-up is markedly different from his touring partner, Stokes’ affable demeanour and conversational style proved a hit with the audience, and suggested bigger things are to come. An endearing performer, even when talking about difficult subjects such as his divorce, his short set was peppered with solid jokes, and a knack for marrying his storytelling with beautifully comic turns of phrase.
Beginning with some madcap satire, disguised as Great Britain, was a cover for Milton Jones to do some mild Brexit-related material, as a precursor to the show itself, titled Milton Jones Is Out There. Audiences know what to expect from Jones, but that doesn’t prevent his greatest asset being that of surprise. A veteran stand-up with a finely-honed talent for writing – and delivering – exquisitely crafted one-liners, much of his comedic skill stems from his ability to wrong-foot a room with a punchline.
Out There was another example of a fiendishly clever comic mind at work; an hour in the company of Milton Jones found mirth in satirical nuggets, cunning wordplay, and neat misdirection, all delivered with the help of a loud shirt and a British Isles map. A stalwart of the UK stand-up scene, Jones is a real treasure and looks set to remain one for many years to come.