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Jack Whitehall Settle Down review: A chuckle here, a chuckle there, but just not enough

The Netflix special of comic Jack Whitehall’s first tour in 4 years, recorded at the O2 Arena, is now streaming

Jack Whitehall Settle Down review: A chuckle here, a chuckle there, but just not enough
Netflix presents Jack Whitehall's Settle Down tour material from his live show at the O2 Arena in London

Last Updated: 05.37 PM, Jan 30, 2024


Story: Jack Whitehall is reaching the boss level of adulting – he’s welcoming his firstborn with girlfriend Roxy Horner.. From anecdotes about how they came to this stage of their relationship, and the realization that he’ll soon have ‘something that doesn’t come with a return policy’, Whitehall strings together a standup special about leaving his feckless past behind.

Jack Whitehall Settle Down review: When Jack Whitehall opened his show with set up about too much drinking and a bunch of pals who worried that he may be having a tad too much, it didn’t take me much to figure out where his punchline was heading. There’ve been far too many reels about boyfriend/husband vs dog and who is up for adoption on Instagram in recent times. How original, I thought, only to have another such thrown in when he spoke about his diabetic girlfriend fainting in the middle of a Harry Styles concert. Watermelon Sugar, anyone?

An alumnus of a prestigious London private school, Whitehall doesn’t get mentioned as highly up the order as he’d hoped for on the institution’s web page of famous past pupils. That’s a pet peeve he harbours. Emma Watson and Robert Pattinson studied there you see, but when Whitehall eventually gets named as a former student, he does so in the company of none other than Ghislaine Maxwell, in an article about a naughty teacher.

This is not the only self-deprecating stuff in the hour-long special. Even the ‘joke’ about his girlfriend Roxy Horner having dated Leonardo DiCaprio earlier and having traded down to this Jack who won’t let go, because she is over 26 years of age, eventually became about her settling for a Labradoodle after being with the Wolf of Wall Street. Whitehall also admits to being a coward for choosing not to cause a brouhaha with a club bouncer who ‘dishonoured’ Roxy, simply because they were in the US, where “every c*nt has a gun”.

The central crux of Settle Down, though, is Whitehall’s at-the-time impending fatherhood. He and his girlfriend of three years, Roxy, were expecting their firstborn, when the special was filmed way back in June last year. The due date was September 11; which isn’t all that bad because it “isn’t twins” he says, quoting his father. This is the inevitable next step in their journey together as a couple that came after parenting a toy poodle – welcoming a kid that’s already got a silver spoon, much like he did.

Before taking this life-altering decision, Whitehall and Roxy wanted to do all the fun, impromptu stuff they wouldn’t be able to once the little one comes along. He wanted to try crystal meth, she wanted to go on a safari; so a safari it was with a family of four from Florida, who he describes as obnoxious people with the proverbial junk in the trunk. That wasn’t particularly high on humour and neither was his take on grown-ups getting wound up over cartoons, like the live-action Little Mermaid.

The high point of the show came almost at the very end, when Whitehall had a little something to say about when and where to voice opinions and, most importantly, who should be doing that, and how, it is often best to just shut up and stay out of it. Now, that’s not something to laugh about and is not the best fit for a standup show. But it was the smartest thing he’d said in his whole set and he dropped it when he knew the audience was in rapt attention.

Jack Whitehall Settle Down verdict: To be fair, Jack Whitehall’s comedy does evoke a laugh here and there; it’s not all bland and contrived, but even his boyish charm and posh British accent can’t do much to salvage this special. It felt a tad lazy to be honest.

PS: Whitehall and Roxie had a daughter, Elsie, who arrived days ahead of schedule.


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