Stephen Lynch @ Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, 4th March 2010


Political correctness is basically a term for minimising social offense. Thankfully, there’s none here tonight. Stephen Lynch, the king of YouTube musical comedy is in town to sing the kind of songs you laugh at in private, maybe in the pub, but never in polite society. Think of him as the Marilyn Manson of melodic humour. If it’s there to be poked as a subject for human shock value in song form, then it’s fair game, and nobody does it better than Lynch.

As usual, no topic tonight seems immune or too taboo, the “Three Balloons” tour name itself is a reference to a method of concealing a certain illegal substance somewhere delicate. On the outside it all seems so innocent, if you walked past the tour poster it’s just a man holding 3 red balloons, after the first song of the night you realise it’s so much more than that!

Lynch, to us Brits is somewhat of an internet phenomenon, his top 5 YouTube videos have nearly 16 million hits in total. With very few UK TV appearances to his name it’s testament to the power of the “forward to my friends” button that this is a sold-out show with tickets selling on eBay for twice face value. There’s a famous quote which says that it takes 10 years to be an overnight success – and this is year 15, it’s great to see he’s getting some pay-back.


Looking at the queue tonight it’s obvious that he’s better known here than you might give him credit for. The punters outside in the freezing night are all chatting about which of his highly offensive songs he might play, it’s a bit like an underground meeting of “NPCA — Non Politically Correct Anonymous”. There are favourite impromptu lines being shared amongst the queuing throng and the excitement is clearly growing. Even a 20 minute delay to the start time doesn’t dampen the upbeat attitude inside.

Tonight’s subject matter covered in Lynch’s songs includes waiting for your AIDS test results, people with special needs, “queer” tattoos, gay robots, his wife’s fake breasts, a karate-trained octopus, having a girlfriend who is actually a closet Nazi, and a song about Jesus’ brother (Craig Christ — the one with the drug habit).

As if that wasn’t enough we also had jokes about Anne Frank’s Diary, Rhianna and her recent domestic abuse, Christopher Reeve and his penchant for horse riding and one about Michael Jackson’s doctor — political correctness might not stop Lynch from singing about it but it forbids me naming the exact nature of that tune!

There was also a charming little number about medieval pubic hair topiary, teaching kids via the medium of melodic (and swear-word-ridden) tunes, and a brief swing at Dungeons & Dragons players (and how they’re all virgins, with cardboard swords). By far the best one for me was the duet with David Josefsberg about the positive merits of the Dirty Sanchez. The normal sidekick of Jeff Daniels is missing tonight after a family tragedy but the show goes on without really missing a beat with Stephens brother Drew pulling “backing singer” duties instead.


The closing number was by far the show-stealer, a fantastic version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” — a reference to a much earlier comment in the evening entertainment, again featuring David Josefsberg. It just goes to show that Lynch’s stint in Broadway’s “The Wedding Singer” wasn’t wasted as there was some fine acting on display!

I actually left feeling guilt-ridden but somewhat cleansed on exit, it was a hell of a cathartic experience. You have the unique opportunity to laugh at things that just “aren’t funny” in normal society, the things which 20 years ago we all used to tell jokes about before the fun police told us that we’d all get sued for thinking it. In the meantime my ribs still hurt hours after leaving, I haven’t laughed so hard in years.

There should be more Stephen Lynchs in the world — catch him on the rest of his UK tour if you can!

Review & Photos – Matt Pargeter

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5 thoughts on “Stephen Lynch @ Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, 4th March 2010

  1. I wholeheartedly agree that the gig was fantastic. I was the unfortunate one in the front to be spotted with my phone recording part of the show. That part has mde it to youtube though as it was hilarious. Will certainly be going to see him again

  2. I have followed Lynch for a few years now and was so happy to see so many people there supporting him after spending so long thinking I was the only person who knew him. The show was nothing short of brilliant, I would happily have paid double or triple.

  3. I agree to all of the above too!! I urge anyone that gets the opportunity to go and see him, I can’t wait until the next time I do! Write it down…Morgan Freeman! :o)

  4. I totally agree with everyone. I’ve been waiting to see Stephen lynch since my friend played special olympics to me on his guitar. 3 long years later and it happened. Let’s hope he comes back to the uk soon. Write it down Morgan Freeman.

  5. Absolutley amazing!!! cant wait until he’s here again! it was a shame that jeff daniels wasnt there but drew made up for that!!! Def a must see nxt time around! wasnt sure about going as i wasnt too keen on most of the songs but when i was there it was great if he tours here again i wudnt miss it for the world!!!!

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