Get us in your inbox


Chloe Petts: If You Can’t Say Anything Nice

  • Comedy, Stand-up
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Chloe Petts, If You Haven’t Got Anything Nice To Say, 2023
Photo: Avalon

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The going places stand-up happily explores her rage in this excellent new show

Call me an old romantic but I do find something very heartening about the rise of Chloe Petts. By her own admission, her fanbase largely consists of ‘football lads’ and ‘gentle, beautiful queers’, and that’s lovely: even a decade ago it’s hard to think the former constituency in particular would turn out in numbers for an openly gay female comic, even if she is an aggressively die-hard Crystal Palace fan. 

After its more cerebral predecessor ‘Transcience’, ‘If You Can’t Say Anything Nice’ leans into Petts’s angry side. Nominally it hinges on her therapist telling her she had anger issues, and an incident on a night bus after an England game, where her attempt to order a guy to turn his loud music down somewhat backfired.

Really, though, it’s a kaleidoscopic, perversely upbeat tribute to the joy of rage. From her gleeful performative meanness to the audience, to the rhapsodic terms she used to describe the thrills of footy-related anger and her venomous asides about Morris dancers, it’s not really a self-help journey but more an extremely fun meditation on how awesome it can feel to get angry about stuff.

It’s also, I suppose, about the wonders of acceptance: much of Petts’s glee comes from how well she fits in with scenes you wouldn’t obviously connect her to, from Millwall-supporting ultras to heterosexual weddings, and how much she herself likes borderline football hooligans and children at weddings.

It ends on a cheery, I-learned-something-today note that might slightly vex more cynical souls (ie me). Truth be told, I suspect she’s actually probably just cosplaying a grump - but it’s hoot watching her do it.

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski


£13, £12 concs. Runs 1hr
You may also like
You may also like