Thursday, 22 August 2013

Benjamin Crellin - Comic of Duty ***

Unfortunately I saw Benjamin Crellin on an off day and I'm increasingly convinced that basement of the City Cafe isn't as good a comedy space as it feels like because it seems that most of the comics that I see there seem to underachieve.

I don't know if it's just the room itself or if it's because it's a free venue so close to the Royal Mile that it attracts people taking a gamble, with no clue about what the show is about, so they won't necessarily like the comedian.

Benjamin Crellin is a very clever comedian. His jokes are multi-layered, well thought out and thought provoking as well.

His comedy is designed to expose first world hypocrisy and make you think about the absurd contradictions in modern life.

I liked him and I liked his material, but unfortunately the room didn't seem to enjoy his comedy. He started off attacking religion and his material was well observed but when it didn't hit the right notes it started to sound a little bit preachy and it felt like he was picking a bit of an easy target. (It wouldn't have sounded like that if he was getting laughs but on this occasion he wasn't). I'm no fan of religion so he had me on his side but pointing out that the bible has contradictions has been done to death by more comedians than I could name.

At this point I hoped he'd be able to win the room around, but I think because of the planning he has put in to the show, it makes it harder to fall back on to easy material as it would put him off track, and ruin the structure that he has put in place. The show that he has set up gives him no wiggle room to test the waters, do a bit of audience banter or a few easy knob jokes or whatever it is that works for him, to get him back on track, so he just has to power on and hope for the best. He did, but the audience only offered a few titters at the most.

He committed the cardinal sin of saying how great it was to be in England twice and unlike Lewis Schaffer who did the same thing earlier in the day, but obviously meant it and managed to win the audience back, Benjamin didn't even seem to notice that he'd done it or acknowledge the mistake.

At the end he said "I hope you enjoyed the show, even although you I think most of you didn't get it".

I did get it, but for whatever reason it didn't hit the spot with the rest of the audience on the night.

For me, this was a four star performer, who did a two star show as a one off (my logic for giving him three stars).

I would never normally consider going back to see exactly the same show twice, but if I had time (which I don't), I would go and see it again, purely because I think I would see a completely different show second time around.

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