joke-a-motive,Tim Vine reviewGet a grinfull of this silliness...

Label:    Spirit Entertainment
Time:      63 Minutes + extras

“I got a job as a litter removal man. I didn’t get any training – I thought I’d pick it up as I went along.”

Tim Vine’s one-liners don’t just hurtle around the internet like a fleet of delivery vehicles at the height of the Christmas rush because they are quick to key in; they get copied because they are so good and people want their friends to hear them. But because they are often plainly silly and have no great pretensions, it is easy to take them for granted.

This collection includes the Best Joke at the Edinburgh Fringe award for this year: “I went on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday recently. Tell you what, never again!”  There are plenty more where that came from, and several are just as good.

But Joke-A-Motive is not quite as sharp as its predecessor, Punslinger. Vine seems nervous early on, as if he doesn’t quite have the confidence he had in that last batch of jokes. His delivery is a tad rushed – just enough to lose the dramatic pauses that so often make a joke work. It doesn’t help that there are fewer surreal jokes, which were the highlights of Punslinger. That said, his bizarre Little Piece of Carpet sequence could have been adapted from Ivor Cutler.

He regains his ease and reverts to his usual form in the second half. This is also when he builds his one-liners into sets of four and grows the jokes beautifully. In that way he takes what you think will be a predictable piece about aerial photography and turns it into an interactive gag about the audience’s reception.

His “Mountain Earring” set is another case in point, where he shows how good his timing can be when he is on form.

Unlike previous sets, where you could see the join between his songs and one-liners, this set often has both visual gags and songs turning into banter and set jokes, making it more fluid and harder to see the punchlines coming.

He keeps on getting better to the end, where he excels himself with a hilarious Bee Gees impersonation and wears a dartboard as a new task to replace Pen Behind the Ear.

Extras: Vine’s Elvis impersonation is best forgotten, but Flag Hippo appears on-stage in both some fine deleted scenes and the tour movie. There are two of his strange lo-fi short stories with John Archer and friends as well as a show commentary.


Derek Walker