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Matt Kirshen: Shorter Than Napoleon - Fringe 2009
Matt Kirshen is generally considered a reliable laugh so it is quite possible he was just having an off night. It was, after all, 10.20pm and he was competing against the ferocious wheezing of an ineffectual air conditioning unit – but that’s not unusual in Edinburgh.
Whatever the reason, a lacklustre air hung heavy over his performance that dampened what is probably a reasonable show.
It begins with 5ft 6in Kirshen's indignation at the concept of a Napoleon complex – besides, he doesn't reckon the Emperor was as short as history would have us believe, suggesting confusion resulted from the differences in British and European measurements.
This assertion is the springboard for a series of observations on the disparities in the way things are interpreted, from our difficulties with getting a handle on size without the aid of unlikely points of comparison to the coverage of the G20 protests which, he claims, was simplistically biased on both sides.
Kirshen has some interesting points to make, but they're light on funny. Like the class swot he evidently was, he tries rather too hard to show off his sharp brain and it often results in segments that are tediously didactic. When he does manage a punchy line (and there are several) it's let down by his inability to pass it off casually. His pride at his own work is a little grating even if it's justified.
Kirshen also overestimates his audience's interest in his stories - one in particular, about a travelling experience gone badly wrong, would be fine at about half the length. But the pay-off is definitely not worth the time spent listening to the set-up and even he seemed to realise he was losing ground, as he grinned in increasingly unconvincing manner.
This was far from a dreadful show but, on the basis of this particular performance, not one I'd recommend to anyone.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 19th Aug, '09|
Review by Nione Meakin
Wednesday 24th Aug, '11-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2004 -
Show - Montreal 2008 - Wednesday 16th Jul, '08-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2008 -
Wednesday 14th Mar, '07-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
He is fantastic and I think I have fallen in love with him. He is beautiful.
Very smug, no one found him as funny as he found himself. Also been using the same material for soooo long!
Terrible! you'd get better laughs out of a rock!
Saw him tonight and slightly spoilt by sychophantic laughter from one or two audience members/friends. Some good material but lacked the charisma to carry it off.
Absolutely woeful last night in Derby
Saw last night at charity gig. Was one of the best performers on the bill and handled the most bizarre heckle amazingly!
Saw him last night, and he was truly woeful. Not as funny or as clever as he clearly thinks he is, and quite smug with it. Cannot handle hecklers at all, and totally lost it when he was heckled. If Last Comic Standing is the Pop Idol of the comedy world, I think we've found our Gareth Gates.
Edinburgh Fringe 2003
Big Value Comedy Show (Late)
Edinburgh Fringe 2004
Stickmen: Year One
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Matt Kirshen: Have You Seen This Boy?
Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Matt Kirshen: Keep Smiling, Matt. Just Keep Smiling
Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Matt Kirshen: Shorter Than Napoleon
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Matt Kirshen: Wide Eyed
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