The Honourable Tom Houghton

Edinburgh Fringe Review

The Honourable Tom Houghton
Venue: The Counting House (upstairs room)
August 2023
Reviewer: Mark Ritchie
When you happen to be the son of General the Lord Houghton GCB CBE DL and therefore can append on honourable title to your comedy publicity, the bar is set high in terms of the difficulty of creating a likeable comedy persona. Professional snobbery can be fun, but this performer could hardly be described as a snob or elitist or posh. Asking for no favours from anyone, The Honourable Tom talks the language of the ‘un-woke’, but is by his own admission anything but a conservative politico type, as his background suggests he may well be.
Mocking the posh boys is well-trodden comedy ground for many 21st century Stand-Up comedians but I think I may have caught Tom’s act on a night he will remember for a long time. The ex-public schoolboy was faced with his old house-master (a posh name for form teacher) who sat in the audience just a couple of rows back, after arriving by complete surprise. The look on young master Houghton’s face when he realised who had come to watch him was a puce picture, leaving the honourable one clearing deciding there and then what material to leave in and what to suddenly make disappear from his set.
As a comedy performer myself, I can spot what constitutes comedy padding, an ironic pause or just sheer wordplay for effect. Tom Houghton has evidently done the hard miles and is now a star of stuff I do not claim to understand the minutiae of, such as social media and Tik-Tok. He also has a few telly credits on his CV, thanks to Channel 4 and Comedy Central.
Moving on to material and the near proximity of former housemasters taken into consideration, we heard some ‘work in progress’ type material, where Houghton seemed to be searching for the right way to launch the tag-line. I certainly do not mean that to be a criticism, merely an observation of what could be a wonderful emerging comedy talent. Topics covered included a dental calamity in Nepal, the ‘wokishness’ of Pro-noun use and marriage Break-up’s.
The Honourable Tom Houghton does seem so damn decent and honourable, but in a terrifically likeable and affable way. His avowed intent is to break it big as a comedian and in my view, he has every chance.
He does not remind me in the slightest of the rather more successful comedy posh-boy Jack ‘Whitehall, although he informed his audience that comparison’s had been made between Houghton and Whitehall before. There again he has also apparently been compared for some unfathomable reason to that other great national joke Boris Johnson. Houghton’s jokes are better and less damaging!
The only reason why this brilliant, bright and insightful young comedian could be found to be not everyone’s cup of tea would be sheer inverted snobbery. The Honourable Tom Houghton has something to say and the audiences in Edinburgh are finding him irresistible.

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