SOMETIMES a bit of gentle laughter is just what's needed. No cruelty (leave that to Frankie Boyle), no flamboyancy and egotism (leave that to Russell Brand) and no challenging political rhetoric (leave that to Mark Thomas).
Instead take the familiar Irish lilt, silliness and wide-eyed innocence of Father Dougal and add intelligence, charm and a coy delivery.
Ardal O'Hanlon's daft observations about the mundane and the trivial can feel as purgative as the Catholic confession box as you unwind, escape and wash away the memory of a busy week with a beer and a giggle.
His own Catholic upbringing and the narrow community he grew up in is the source of many of his asides: his perpetual feeling of guilt and his sexual repression.
This isn't stadium humour to win over the crowds. It's a good yarn with a funny bloke in the pub. One baffled human being striking a chord with another. Politics? He describes Cameron and Clegg as the Shampoo and Conditioner duo. Racism? He's not racist but fake tanned women "should be sent back to where they came from – the beauty salon". Guilt? Germans obviously don't feel any otherwise they would lose some penalty shoot-outs to atone for the war.
There's no overall comedy arch to this show, no one big story. Rather it's lots of unrelated topics seamlessly sewn together, with Ardal's years of experience shining through as he expertly deals with a somewhat eccentric interruption from an audience member.
I left feeling his likeable, cuddly qualities make him a comedy hero for milder types, those of us who, on a daily basis, find ourselves grappling with scruples, hang-ups and general bewilderment.
Review: Rosanna Rothery.
Where: Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe.