Tom Parry is having a lot of fun tonight. And why wouldn't he be? Essentially, he's playing a game with himself – namely, to set as many obstacles in his path towards a successful comedy show as he can muster, and then one by one knock them down. And, holy moly, he's winning. An elaborate opening involving a relatively vanilla rock star? Nailed. A theme based, openly, around five jokes and six thoughts ("a thought is just a joke without the punchline")? Apparently, entirely workable. A laborious pre-rehearsed climax? As it happens, it's unfeasibly climactic.
Parry may never escape being referred to in the same breath as Pappy's – the Fringe sketch gift that keeps giving. And he may be entirely happy with that. But there's a lot he's left behind since the early days of the then-named Fun Club at Kent Uni. Here is an assured, commanding performer, who can stand proud on his own two feet. Rarely content with a single laugh, he stomps over punchlines to get to the next. Audience participation is effortless. Trumpet playing is perfectly, hilariously awful.
But, and here's the rub, there's also a fair bit of the student union left in Tom. He gives the game away frequently: "guys, here's a question...". "Guys, hear me out...". If you were being generous, you'd dismiss it as an unspecific turn of phrase. Except it isn't. In a set about the joys of fancy dress, and university parties, Parry is still chatting to the lads over a tin of beer and a game of Goldeneye. He's pretty good at it – a high-flying student. But he's got to graduate at some point.