Thursday, April 03, 2008

Comedy Festival Round Up 1

After suffering through my fair share of bad comics over the years, I guess I've developed some kind of internal standby setting that flicks on after about ten minutes of unfunny antics on stage. The brain shuts down to conserve energy and only the vital processes keep running. I'm just like most domestic appliances that way.

This year's been pretty good, though, so I'll try to ladle out some hot steaming reviews onto your waiting plates while I still can.


A few comedians this year have been really clever and astute-like so I'll start with them.

NINA CONTI - Complete and Utter Conti

I'm not a fan of ventriloquists (who is?) but sassy UK comic Conti has used the form to craft a complex narrative which does very strange and sometimes sad things. It seems very loose and unstructured and old-fashioned for quite a while, but you gradually become aware that everything happening is very precisely measured to accomplish a particular effect which is, eventually, one of deconstruction. Barry contender. Very highly recommended. I'd go see this show again (HIGH PRAISE INDEED).

JUSTIN HAMILTON - The Killing Joke

Hammo won Director's Choice last year. I missed his trilogy then. Caught his new one. It's a bit like:


Hamilton plays Jason Harrington and Justin Hamilton in a dialogue between two comedians - one of whom is urging the other to kill himself for some reason. It's a series of musings by a comedian asking himself what he's all about - smart meta-comedy that isn't really laugh-out-loud but raises lots of interesting questions. Hamilton is clearly influenced by the self-referential comics of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison (he namechecks them in the program) as well as some nice cinema of the past couple of decades. Like I say, it's not a gutbuster but it's worth the Barry he's been nominated for.

SAM SIMMONS - Where Can I Win a Bear Around Here?

I have not a lot of ideas why I enjoy Sam Simmons' comedy but I rather do and hope you do too. WHOEVER "YOU" ARE?

You shitheads.

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