Looking for something to do? Go see Spencer Jones. After all, that’s what he thinks of his own comedy: ‘it’s just something to do’. But ‘Proper Job’ is far more than a way to pass the time. It’s a joyous hour of props-based lunacy, and Jones is a captivating charmer.
Dressed in his finest white tights and power shoulder blazer, Jones’s persona, The Herbert, is a wide-eyed, optimistic simpleton with seemingly too much time on his hands. He shows off his collection of (increasingly expensive) impulse internet buys – some plastic limbs, a robotic monkey’s head, a box of groan tubes – and the weird puppets he’s made out of household items.
It’s downright silly throughout, and Jones is well aware of his own absurdity. The 38-year-old comic gives us a glimpse behind his mumbling persona as he dons pairs of beady eyes (a gimmick that’s somewhat overused) and becomes caricatures of his friends and family telling him to ‘get a proper job’.
Although the foolishness never slips, ‘Proper Job’ isn’t a one-note show. There are skits that build to multiple highs, throwaway gags and a pleasing mix of props, sound effects and oddball contraptions. One sketch, involving his son (portrayed by a baby doll with a fox’s head), threatens to play with our emotions before undercutting any sentiment with a daft joke and a series of ways to play with a latex glove.
It’s old school, sure, but it’s utterly delightful. Jones isn’t trying to make prop comedy cool or update it for the social media generation. He’s simply mucking about, and he’s having a lot of fun doing it.