SUNDERLAND Empire played host to the latest leg of Jason Manford’s 110-gig First World Problems tour which kicked off back in June.
His style has had the crowd in his pocket from the first minute of his two-night booking on Wearside, and with a two-hour set split by a 20-minute interval, there’s no doubt the audience got their money’s worth.
In his own inimitable style, the Mancunian funnyman placed a great deal of emphasis on audience participation and several fans sitting near the front - including a group of women from Peterlee - took their fair share of good natured ribbing.
There’s no hiding place for a stand-up comic, but there was no danger of Manford bombing with a well-honed set keeping him busy and his quick wit meaning he always had the right answer whever the crowd threw him a curved ball.
Having already played gigs in Newcastle and Middlesbrough, Manford has clearly does his homework on the patch and knows all about the football rivalry, so he was guaranteed a cheer from the Sunderland crowd when he touched on the recent derby match.
His tour, as the title First World Problems suggests, focuses on the things that we moan about when perhaps we shouldn’t, and some of his observational banter had the audience laughing so much that they literally... well, you had to be there.
- IAN WILLIS