It struck me as I glanced around the vast Manchester Arena, while waiting for Micky Flanagan’s show, that this is when you have made it as a comedian.
Thousands packed into the arena, all attracted by just one man. All of them waiting, expecting, demanding to be amused and entertained simply by his words.
It’s an enormous pressure but one that Flanagan meets with ease. He manages to hold an audience in the palm of his hands with his cheeky observations on every day life.
Flanagan has come a long way in the last few years and is one of the most successful and high-profile comedians in the country. That move from London boy from a working class background to well-off entertainer and celebrity forms a huge part of his ‘An’ Another Fing’ tour. He acknowledges his new-found wealth and makes several jokes about it.
It wasn’t always success for the Cockney, who spent many years on the comedy circuit before stardom came.
Where Flanagan succeeds is his charm. He’s incredibly likeable and that radiates throughout his performance. You feel as though his material works just as well down the pub as it does at enormous arenas such as this.
He maintains that vibe of being an average man and is able to relax an audience and have them laughing along with him from first minute to last. It’s just good fun.
His material is naughty, downright filthy at times, but his ability to tell it all with a cheeky grin on his face means he can get away with it.
The audience of the Manchester were all ages and demographics, proving Flanagan is able to appeal to a whole cross-section of Britain. This huge tour, finishing in November, takes in the biggest venues in the country – including three nights at London’s O2 Arena.
It’s a level of success all comedians aspire to, but few can reach.
This visit to Manchester was not without frustration, with the show starting 20 minutes late as the vast hoards took forever to take their seats. Flanagan quipped that they couldn’t get the audience to come inside out of the sun. You sensed he was as frustrated as those of us who had taken their seats on time.
But the show itself united the audience in laughter. Flanagan’s mix of material, from his own background, to his TV work and his observations on the world around him, allows him to connect with every member of his audience.
Vast numbers of people will have seen Flanagan in action by the time this tour concludes and there won’t be too many going home disappointed.