Phill Jupitus' decision to end a decade-long hiatus from the stand-up circuit was, he tells us, inspired by a phone call from Eddie Izzard. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
Sadly for Jupitus, the most remarkable thing about his return to the Fringe stage is his physical appearance, having apparently lost more than six stone in weight. His material is heavy on the well-trodden topics of age, sex and parenthood, too often tipping over into all-out cliche. Indeed, the set contains an anecdote that will have been heard by every male below pensionable age, although this still manages to garner a huge laugh.
There are plenty of jokes about Coldplay, too, most of which have been done better already and at a time when Coldplay were more worthy of mockery than they are today. It's as if Jupitus wrote this show three years ago and didn't get round to updating the details to something a bit more relevant. Bruno Mars and Tinie Tempah, at least, can be thankful for that.
There are moments of quality here, notably in Jupitus' exaggerated Izzard impression. Too often, though, the humour is lost in Jupitus' over-explanation of relatively straightforward lines and his tendency to laugh at his own jokes, hinting at a lack of faith in his own material. This is most at evidence during the laboured routines about age, which rely almost entirely on stereotypes: those in their sixties are forgetful; those past forty are lethargic; thirty-somethings like dinner parties, IKEA catalogues and, you guessed it, Coldplay.
Jupitus is evidently conscious of the perception generated by his panel show appearances and plays largely against type, however false an impression that type might be. His mood seems to border on the belligerent throughout, chiding audience members for their interjections and worrying aloud that they are leading him 'down a comedy cul-de-sac'. In an hour of such tired material, he tends to find these unaided and with annoying regularity.
Jupitus has been away a long time and some leniency must be granted for that. However, the game has moved on in the meantime and, on this evidence, he is yet to catch up. One must hope that Izzard does not have Stan Boardman's telephone number.