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Review: Comedian Tom Houghton back among friends at Cambridge Junction

After a hugely successful first gig at the Cambridge Junction in early 2022, Tom Houghton (aka The Right Honourable Tom Houghton) was welcomed back to the venue last year as something of a conquering hero.

This time, another impressive crowd turned out to see the former contestant on Netflix reality series The Circle and one-time resident of the Tower of London perform his latest piece, It’s Not Ideal.

Tom Houghton. Picture: Jiksaw
Tom Houghton. Picture: Jiksaw

Coming out to an enthusiastic welcome, Tom immediately got himself into a funny but also slightly awkward situation.

Commenting on the way one young man in the front row was sitting, he learned it was because he had a false leg! Still, the skilled comic managed to manoeuvre his way out of it.

“Four rows of teeth”-posh Tom also made humorous references to his upbringing and social class, noting that, being Cambridge, much of the audience seemed to clearly know what he was talking about, when he made references to quiches, gilets, boarding school and skiing.

He then introduced his warm-up act, Paddy Young, who was also well received by the audience at large and who will be returning to the Junction later this month.

Coming out for the second half to do the ‘main show’, Tom began with stories and anecdotes from his life over the past year or so.

These included going on stag dos, giving up drinking and musing over his father’s involvement in the coronation of King Charles III.

There were some very funny moments, with the talented performer using clever wordplay and creative storytelling techniques to elicit a great deal of laughter.

Tom has a background in acting and it showed as he vividly brought some of the characters in his real and imagined stories to life.

He made some more ‘risqué’ observations which caused murmurs of disapproval among certain members of the audience, as if a ‘nice boy’ like Tom shouldn’t be doing this kind of material.

Personally, however, I wish he’d do more of it and take a less ‘safe’ approach at times. Still, this was the first date of the tour and maybe he was ‘testing the water’ a bit?

Another awkward moment came when Tom made a joke about Princess Diana and then learned to his – and our – great surprise that one of the people on the front row, the man sitting next to the guy with one leg, was a fourth cousin of the late ‘People’s Princess’!

A somewhat shell-shocked Tom noted that he’d never had a situation like this, where he was completely lost for words, in 17 years of doing comedy.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said, offering out his hand. It was gladly accepted by the still-laughing audience member.

Tom Houghton. Picture: Jiksaw
Tom Houghton. Picture: Jiksaw

Tom was as charismatic, warm and engaging as ever, offering moments of deep reflection amidst all the joke-telling – he likes to add ‘heart’ to his comedy, and it’s something he does very well – and succeeded in remaining entertaining throughout, without ever letting the energy level drop.

[Read more: Comedian Tom Houghton on life in the Tower of London, Tom Houghton: ‘My dad held the Sword of Temporal Justice at the Coronation... I was on a stag do in Spain’]

Although I enjoyed the show, I have to say that it drew more smiles and titters from me than full guffaws and belly laughs – and personally, I think he’s yet to top the glorious hour of comedy he delivered so expertly back in 2022.

“Amazing, absolutely top-notch” was the verdict I overheard from another audience member on the way out, though, so what do I know?

For more information on Tom Houghton, and to check on tour dates, visit honourabletom.com. Follow Paddy Young on social media at @paddyisyoung.

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