Best of the Fest: Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 2012
The Big Comedy Gala n Aid of Macmillan Cancer: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2013
Hal Cruttenden: Tough Luvvie: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, 2013
Ealing Comedy Festival: Walpole Park, Ealing, London, 2014
99 Club Comedy: Ruby Blue, Leicester Square, London, 2015
Boatshow Comedy: Tattershall Castle, London, 2015
Hal Cruttenden: Straight Outta Cruttenden: Work In Progress: Udderbelly, Southbank, London, 2015
Haadliners Comedy Club: George IV pub, Chiswick, London, 2016
99 Club Comedy: Ruby Blue, Leicester Square, London, 2017
Headliners Comedy Club: George IV pub, Chiswick, London, 2018
Always Be Comedy: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2018
Hal Cruttenden: Chubster: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2018
The Big Funny Fest: The Old Deer Park, Richmond, 2019
Always Be Comedy: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2019
Boatshow Comedy Virtual Quiz: online: June and July 2020
Always Be Comedy Online (2 Shows): Online: 2020
Always Be Comedy Online: Online: 2021
The Return of The Craic Comedy Club Online: Online: 2021
The Best of The Comedy Store: The Comedy Store, London, 2021
Headliners Comedy Club: George IV pub, Chiswick, London, 2021
Always Be Comedy: The Tommyfield pub, Kennington, London, 2022
Hal Cruttenden: It’s Best You Hear It From Me: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2022
Trained actor and comedian Hal Cruttenden has been am Edinburgh festival favourite since the start of the millennium. I first saw him in 2012 at The Best of the Fest showcase and have watched him every year since.
In his two separate hour long shows, Tough Luvvie that I saw in 2013 and again in Straight Outta Cruttenden in 2015, Cruttenden concentrated on bare-faced cheek that he could say because he constantly emphasised and undermined his masculine authority in his own home by stating that he was a disappointment to his wife in bed and a standing joke to his kids.
Cruttenden’s sets cover his anguish about doing the right thing for his family and for society and because he comes across as a wet, middle-class male with more camp delivery than expected, he disburses far more energy on worrying than on doing. He has sturdy jokes and a talented, confident delivery, which he enhances with lots of comic portrayals from his creativity. Indeed, his wife portrayed as a tough Irish woman, features as one of his impressions becoming a brusque and menacing stereotype albeit one that provides plenty of humour.
Completely at ease and unruffled on stage, Cruttenden is a very funny cheery, mainstream act and a great comedian. The skilful comedian has a reflective talent for making an audience laugh a lot. He can handle a large number of subjects in his sets with apparent ease and has a range of easily relatable crowd-pleasing material.
Cruttenden has reduced me to hysterical continuous laughter and managed to retain the comedy of the performance whilst gaining a respect for the sensitive issues that he dealt with in the sets. He can also show great confidence with his audience interactions. His easy- going, relaxed and sometimes daring banter with me and other members of the crowd at Always Be Comedy was hilarious. He can remember previous encounters with the audience and myself with me laughing loudly at him continuing where he left off winning over the whole crowd with his effortless charm.
In his solo show Chubster, he had the audience in the palm of his hand effortlessly making them laugh out loud. From the beginning, dancing to Let It Go from the Disney film Frozen (for his daughter) to the show itself about the awkwardness of living with teenage daughters and family life is engaging and immensely likeable.
In his routines at The Big Funny Fest and Always Be Comedy in June 2019, his extended set of his show Chubster examined the middle-class society with rapid creativity and superb wit, he had the audience convulsing with laughter. I was exhausted after watching his headline sets.
To see Cruttenden on stage twice in a month as I did in June 2019 and be as funny if not funnier is the sign of a great comedian.
In June and July 2020, Cruttenden was a guest twice for the Boatshow Comedy Quiz hosted by Rich Wilson. Cruttenden has a knack of being extremely funny when upset and this occurred because he kept complaining about how difficult the fun quiz was which it wasn’t!
Cruttenden has an ability to make any situation funny as was proved when he headlined Always Be Comedy Online in July 2020, appearing again in October 2020. He also headlined Always Be Comedy Online again in January 2021 and appeared for Return of The Craic Online Comedy Club in February 2021. He effortlessly entertained with tales from lock down and I could not stop laughing with him.
I saw the comedian live on stage headlining The Comedy Store in London in August 2021 and Headliners Comedy Club in October 2021. He proved again what a great comedian he is. The routines were pricelessly funny and the delivery was just brilliant. What was so impressive were his comebacks at The Comedy Store to the rowdy minority of the crowd which were hysterical and the wealth of hilarious material about family life and career at Headliners.
In January 2022, he appeared at Always Be Comedy for a full tour preview. He delivered over an hour of new material for the tour It’s Best You Hear It From Me where discussed amongst other subjects celebrity, and his marriage. He was a master at the delivery of a punchline and had the audience in hysterics at his chaotic stories. As he kept looking at his notes, he kept asking me to laugh from the front row which I duly obliged.
After watching Cruttenden many times, it was wonderful to see him perform his new solo show, It’s Best You Hear It From Me, at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2022. He is one of several comedians I can watch again and again and still find him hilarious. His delivery of a joke or routine is one of the best in the business.
One of my favourite current comedians, I just smile when Cruttenden appears on stage and I look forward to seeing him again very soon.