Review: Alex Horne Wordwatching

Simon ParkinWhile most stand-up comedy falls in the observational category - with notable off-shoots into the surreal, the political and the slapstick - Alex Horne falls into a more recent variation, one that you could uncharitably call nerd-comedy.Simon Parkin

Norwich Arts Centre

While most stand-up comedy falls in the observational category - with notable off-shoots into the surreal, the political and the slapstick - Alex Horne falls into a more recent variation, one that you could uncharitably call nerd-comedy.

As with other notable practitioners Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace, a basic stand-up routine isn't enough it has to be linked to a project, usually involving the internet and the wackier the better.


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Last time he was in Norwich, it was a look at birdwatching, complete with overhead power-point presentation. This time it was all about words - made up words, like 'bollo', 'pratdigger' and 'mental safari', that Alex has been on a mission to get recognised in the dictionary.

Horne is a true logophile. That is a lover of words, especially rare words, like 'logophile', that seldom make it into dictionaries. And no-one could accuse him of not trying. His quest has seen him turn up on the BBC News and Countdown mainly to use 'honk' - his word for money.

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An affable comic you cannot help but get caught up in his enthusiasm. And staging that included Alex interacting with two other versions of himself was particularly funny.

This being the first night of his national tour, things didn't always go right and his breakneck telling of the story sometimes left little time to milk laughs, but overall this was hugely enjoyable.

He even handed out his own little one-off Norwich dictionary at the end. And you don't get that kind of detail from many comedians.

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